Science table and lab furniture maker Diversified Woodcrafts has recently created a video that expertly compares each type of science table surface available. “No surface is perfect, you’ll need to look at the pros & cons of each.” School and commercial laboratories all work under different conditions, thus varying work surfaces are required. To better understand which lab table will suit your application best, check out this video explaining the pros and cons of each.
The entry level, basic science table surface is a plastic laminate. This surface is ideal for elementary science rooms where only water or benign chemicals are used. The core is an industrial grade particleboard that features a vinyl plastic T-mold edge. The high pressure laminate top is durable and will resist scratches. The drawback to a laminate top is that it is not chemical or heat resistant. Price wise, they are typically the least expensive option and make great starter science tables for young science students that are just being introduced into a laboratory setting. Up and coming students may have only used individual student desks during their lower grades, so this may be the first time for many to attend a class that utilizes group tables into the curriculum.
The next level up is Diversified’s Chemguard top surface. This surface is chemical resistant to low level chemicals and is ideal for middle school classrooms where harsh chemicals are not used. Perfect for basic dissection or biology studies. Chemguard tops are more expensive than laminate tops, but are priced below many other chemical resistant tops that may feature more protection than you really need. The edge is a 3mm PVC edge with a squared look of the higher end science lab tops. The Chemguard surface is softer than a laminate top, so keep this in mind if subjects such as physics might included gravity demonstrations that require objects or weights to be dropped onto the table top.
Phenolic Resin tops are made by a petroleum based chemical resin that is used to saturate and impregnate craft paper in a deposit system that is used to create a solid top that is extremely chemical resistant. They can be used with dry ice experiments or in clinical labs that may use dry ice products. The Phenolic resin tops are lightweight and are often cheaper to ship due to the lower overall weight. The one cone with these tables is that they do not withstand high heat temperatures.
Lastly, Diversified Woodcrafts offers their Epoxy Resin top surface as their top option that is most preferred by professional scientists. Epoxy resin tops are an oil based product that is poured into a mold and heated to create a solid epoxy resin top surface. This top is extremely chemical and heat resistant. Although it is considered top of the line, it too has disadvantages such as a high shipping cost due to high weights. The Epoxy resin top can also crack if exposed to dry ice and can easily be marred. This makes it a better option for higher education classrooms or professional labs where students are less likely to carve or damage these expensive tops.
These four surface options are available on almost all of the Diversified Woodcraft science furniture product line. Science furniture such as lab tables, casework cabinets and demonstration stations are all integral parts of your science labs, so hopefully you have enough information to weigh out the pros and cons of each surface for your application.