Laboratory refrigerator

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A laboratory refrigerator is a common laboratory appliance that consists of a thermally insulated compartment and a heat pump (mechanical, electronic, or chemical) which transfers heat from the inside of the unit to its external environment so that the inside is cooled to a temperature below the ambient temperature of the room. Related is the laboratory freezer, which like the refrigerator cools the inside, but in this case to a temperature below the freezing point of water (at a minimum) or much below it, depending on the substance being frozen. As such, the laboratory refrigerator and freezer are quite similar to an ordinary residential refrigerator and freezer in that regard. However, the laboratory refrigerator tends to have smaller, more confined spaces which can trap escaping vapors of toxic or even flammable nature, meaning that several safety precautions must be taken when using a laboratory refrigerator. This includes[1][2][3][4]:

  • Never placing personnel's consumable foods and beverages in the laboratory refrigerator and freezer;
  • Never placing flammable substances in the laboratory refrigerator and freezer, unless it is comes directly from the manufacturer as being rated to standards such as NFPA Standard 99 (formerly 56C)[1][5], Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 471[1][3], DIN EN 14470-1[4][6][7], TRGS 510[6][7], FM 6050[3][8], and IEC 61010-2-011[9] (these will be listed as" flammable materials" or "explosion-proof");
  • Ensuring all containers holding samples, specimens, and reagents are appropriate for their contents and are well-sealed, with waterproof labels clearly indicating the contents; and
  • Placing proper signage on the refrigerator/freezer.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Furr, A. Keith (2000). CRC handbook of laboratory safety (5th ed ed.). Boca Raton: CRC Press. pp. 190-192. ISBN 978-0-8493-2523-6. 
  2. Siwatch, P.; Singh, N. (2007). Molecular Biology: Principles and Practices. Laxmi Publications Pvt. Ltd.. pp. 41-42. ISBN 9788131802700. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 National Research Council (U.S.), ed. (2011). Prudent practices in the laboratory: handling and management of chemical hazards (Updated ed ed.). Washington, D.C: National Academies Press. pp. 153-154. ISBN 978-0-309-13864-2. OCLC 419824064. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dittrich, Egbert, ed. (2015). The sustainable laboratory handbook: design, equipment, operation. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. pp. 292-294. ISBN 978-3-527-67954-6. OCLC 911591784. 
  5. National Fire Protection Association. "NFPA 56C: Standard for Laboratories in Health-Related Institutions". National Fire Protection Association. Retrieved 30 September 2022. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Type 90 safety storage under bench cabinet with refrigerating unit: Safe and cooled storage of flammable hazardous materials" (PDF). asecos GmbH. August 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2022. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Safety storage cabinet models". asecos GmbH. Retrieved 30 September 2022. 
  8. "Approval Standards". FM Global Group. Retrieved 30 September 2022. "Search for 6050" 
  9. International Electrotechnical Commission (22 March 2019). "IEC 61010-2-011:2019". International Electrotechnical Commission. Retrieved 30 September 2022.