Many people think that a lab refrigerator is just a larger version of the domestic refrigerator. But there is more to a lab freezer than what a novice knows. Lab refrigerators are specifically designed to store critical materials over extended periods of time. The temperatures of these refrigerators is maintained and kept constant at all times so that the many specimens and samples that are kept in it can be preserved in a stable environment.
There are mainly two types of lab refrigerators. One is called the chest freezer and the other called the upright freezer. The main difference between the two is the footprint space that they take. The upright refrigerator, in comparison to the chest refrigerators, has a far smaller footprint without having to compromise on the storage capacity.
Chest refrigerators are also more effective in cooling and maintaining the temperatures by retaining the cool air in a more efficient manner than the upright refrigerator. These chest refrigerators also have the capacity of recovering and going back to the original regulated temperature even when the door of the freezer is kept open for longer durations. However, the biggest advantage that upright refrigerators have over chest refrigerators is that the samples kept in them are much easier to locate.
Laboratory refrigerators work most efficiently when the temperature of the room in which they are kept is also regulated and maintained. Very high temperatures hamper the performance of the refrigerator, and therefore it is best to keep them in rooms which have a temperature going up to a maximum of 45 degrees C. However, in high room temperatures the pressure on the freezer compressor is higher. Allowing proper air circulation is very important so that the refrigerators keep functioning well.
Cramming the room with too many refrigerators will increase the heat emission from the refrigerators and increase the overall temperature of the room thereby putting pressure on the compressor. Lab refrigerators cannot be auto defrosted because this cycle normally destroys the biological samples as this method thaws and then re freezes the samples.
Laboratory refrigerators are designed bearing in mind that a number of volatile or flammable objects will be stored in them. At times specially designed refrigerators are used just for the purpose of storing these samples. Such refrigerators are CFC free, have compressors that are thematically sealed and have an insulation that is foamed in place. The design of these refrigerators also allows them to tolerate explosions.
Another very important aspect of the lab fridge is the alarm system. Most laboratory refrigerator manufacturing companies install an alarm in the refrigerator that is programmed to go off the moment there is a change in the temperature or if the door to the freezer has been left open. A number of refrigerators are also being manufactured with alarm systems, password protection and temperature graphs that allow 24X7 monitoring. Since the advent of the computer fridges can be specially designed keeping in mind its functionality and requirements, making life in the lab a whole lot easier.