What is a Pipettor?

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Pipettor is a device used to measure and transfer small quantities (typically 0.1-100uL) of liquids, most commonly for laboratory use.

Pipettors are primarily used in scientific research departments such as medicine, environmental protection, and food hygiene, among others, to sample or add liquid in biochemical analysis and laboratory tests. It is a piston-type straw that operates on the air discharge principle.

The pipettor‘s capacity is determined by the distance the piston moves in the piston sleeve, and the liquid is sucked out of the container and transferred to a measuring instrument in another container.

A typical pipettor consists of three main components. These include the:

  • pipette tip (the part which contains liquid)
  • plunger (which is pushed down to move liquid)
  • main body (which holds the plunger)

There are different kinds of pipettors, but these operate on the same principle. The plunger slides down in the main body to get liquid out of the pipette tip.

The most common use for a pipettor is in laboratories, when preparing and conducting experiments. For example, scientists will often use pipettors to:

  • Dilute chemicals and solutions (often medications and experimental samples) in order to accurately measure out a safe and appropriate dosage.
  • Transfer liquid samples from one container to another for testing purposes.
  • Perform cell counts when creating cultures in the lab, or when trying to keep track of how many organisms are alive in an experimental sample.
  • Dispense liquids onto slides when working with microscope cultures  or when conducting research with biological specimens.
  • Transfer liquids from one container to another, when working with different tools in various areas of a lab.

In each case, there is a need to add a set volume of liquid in an accurate and precise way between containers or onto slides. Pipettors are one of the most essential tools for this.

In the medical field, pipettors are used to add medications and intravenous solutions during vaccinations and blood samples.

Some of the most common models include:

  • Digital micropipette/pipettor: A touch screen control panel that’s able to dispense precise volumes into a container or onto a slide with ease and speed.
  • Digital adjustable pipettor: Able to measure precise volumes, but with the added feature of being able to pulse out drops of liquid at a time onto a slide.
  • Air displacement micropipette/pipettor: These work by creating a vacuum that sucks up the desired amount of liquid into the tip.
  • Glass micropipette/pipettor: These are the traditional pipettors, and do not contain any electronic parts to them. They require more manual work, but can be calibrated for accuracy.

There are also multichannel pipettor devices which allow for multiple measurements at once with one instrument.

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