How do students in India buy chemicals?
Students in India buy chemicals from specialty companies. However, some chemicals used in common households (such as cleaning, laundry, or hygiene) are purchased from the local grocery or drug stores rather than ordering from chemical supply companies. Chemicals purchased from companies come with the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), chemical safety guides, general information on handling and proper disposal of these chemicals.
Schools, colleges, and universities often have insufficient budget to buy lab chemicals for students in India. But chemicals are found everywhere and it is possible to purchase them at local stores at an affordable rate. There are many lab chemicals that have common household use and can be purchased at local stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, hardware stores, builder’s supply stores, and many other local stores.
Common chemical supply in the local drug/grocery store
|Chemical Name||Common Name||Chemical Formula||Hazards|
|Acetone, propanone||Nail polish remover||C3H6O||Flammable|
|Acetic acid, ethanoic acid||Vinegar||CH₃COOH|
|Sodium chloride||Table salt||NaCl|
|Glucose||Solution of corn syrup||C₆H₁₂O₆|
|Oxalic acid||Non-chlorine bleach powder cleanser||C2H2O4|
|Ammonium hydroxide||Household ammonia||NH4OH||Corrosive|
|Calcium carbonate||Precipitated chalk (powder)||CaCO3|
|Carbon||Charcoal, activated charcoal, graphite powder and rod, pencil lead, carbon battery||C|
|Boric acid, boracic acid||Boric acid||H3BO3|
|Calcium chloride||Road salt||CaCl2|
|Calcium hydroxide||Slaked lime, garden lime||Ca(OH)₂||Avoid sniffing and eye contact|
|Calcium sulfate||Plaster of Paris||CaSO4|
|Hydrochloric acid||Muriatic acid||HCl||Toxic and corrosive|
|Sodium bicarbonate||Baking soda||NaHCO₃|
|Sodium hydroxide||Caustic soda or lye||NaOH||Corrosive|
|Zinc chloride||Tinner’s fluid||ZnCl₂||Corrosive|
Top chemistry institutes in India
India has an excellent list of institutes for students to explore. There are a number of good institutions that provide scope for Masters in chemistry and even pursue PhD and Postdoctoral research. Here’s a list of top institutes in India to study chemistry.
- Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (IISc)
- Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi
- Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
- University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad
- Anna University, Chennai
- Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore
- Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Udupi, Karnataka
- Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune
- University of Delhi, Delhi
- Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai
- Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani (Rajasthan)
- Indian Institute of Technology (IITs)
The emerging trend of purchasing research chemicals online
The world has gone digital, so has the chemical industry. Though the digital evolution in the chemical industry has been slow and yet to reach full-fledged practice, the trend is gaining popularity within the industry. Online portals have eased the supply chain process, while improving sales, marketing, logistics and R&D. With this trend becoming popular in the industrial sector, the research institutes are no behind. The chemical academia is also adapting the digital transformation to keep up with the trend. Research lab chemicals online have become famous and students are preferring to buy chemicals for research online. The online lab chemical suppliers are helping the educational institutions by selling chemicals for students, thereby increasing the availability and offering easy purchase solutions.
Carbanio, India’s largest B2B chemical marketplace, is a unique platform that is helping Indian research institutions to strengthen research and innovation with easy and quick availability of chemicals. Carbanio believes that continuous research and development can further strengthen the industry, which in turn will add to the nation’s development. To this effect, it encourages industries to offer free chemicals they no longer need to research institutions. This revolutionary move will strengthen the research sector and make way for greater innovations. Carbanio is one of the popular online platforms to buy science chemicals for students’ research in India.
Chemical grade, an important criterion to buy chemicals for research
Most laboratory chemicals are labeled with grades that generally represent the purity level. A higher level of purity indicates that the chemical is more concentrated with less quantity of water, other chemicals, and impurities. Chemical grades are important because they define the quality standards of the chemical, which is considered to be most applicable for specific uses like in food and medicine. Based on the purity of the chemicals they are classified into different grades. The grading terminologies may sometimes vary from one manufacturer to another; some of the online lab chemical suppliers also have a different grading system, but the general chemical grades are: ACS grade, reagent grade, laboratory grade, and technical grade. The reagent grade is considered to be of higher purity compared to the other grades.
Pure chemicals are more expensive than lower-grade chemicals because manufacturing higher purity chemicals are time-consuming and involves additional processes. Online chemical suppliers for research often sell chemicals of all grades, but if you are unable to decide the grade you require, it’s always advisable to consult your chemistry teacher/professor. Often laboratory grade chemicals are purchased for common lab use, unless your requirement is specific.
Grades of chemicals
|Reagent||Highest purity||High purity that is acceptable for food and medicinal use. It is also suitable for analytical applications and experiments involving biological matters.|
|ACS||Meets all the standards set by the American Chemical Society||Used in food and medicine. It is also suitable for analytical applications and experiments involving biological matters.|
|Laboratory||Relatively has high purity, but contains small amount of impurities||Popular grade for use in educational applications. They are not suitable for food or medicine.|
|Technical||Chemicals of normal purity. They are not refined for laboratory use.||Used for commercial and industrial purposes. They are not suitable for food or medicine.|
|Others||USP (United States Pharmacopeia) grade – Meets the standards of the United States Pharmacopeia|
NF (National Formulary) grade – Meets the standards of the National Formulary and United States Pharmacopeia
Purified grade – Good quality chemicals, but don’t meet any official standards
|USP and NF grades chemicals have high purity and they are used in food and medicine.|
Purified grade is preferred only for use in educational institutions and they are not a choice for use in food and medicine.
Guidelines for chemical laboratory safety for students
Following safety guidelines is of utmost importance while working in a chemistry laboratory, irrespective of schools, universities or research institutions. Safety precautions are important to protect yourself, protect others, and prevent contamination in the process. Some of the laboratory practices may be specific to a specific process or equipment, but it is mandatory to follow the standard laboratory safety practices all the time.
The standard safety rules that should be followed in every laboratory are listed down. The laboratory rules include information on precautions, behavior, and hygiene practices to avoid any accidents in the lab.
Laboratory precautions and safety rules
Chemical safety rules: Understand the safety information of the chemical you are dealing with. Read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) of the chemical you are working with to understand its reactivity and toxicity.
Follow laboratory dress code: Appropriate dressing to the lab is important. Protective footwear, comfortable clothing, safety goggles, a lab coat, and tied hair are the proper lab attire. This will protect you from fire and chemical splashes and spills.
Location of safety equipment: It is important to know the location of the safety equipment such as fire extinguishers so that it is easy to reach out to them in case of an emergency. However, the safety equipment are mostly located in the laboratory entrance.
Proper disposal of chemicals: Proper waste disposal is an important protocol while working in a chemical lab. It is necessary to understand the type of waste and segregate them: hazardous, non-hazardous waste, organic, inorganic and general waste. The waste should be disposed of in the appropriate waste collectors which have a valid waste collection license.
Basic safety rules
- Never sniff or taste chemicals
- Always close the chemical containers
- Never consume or store food/beverage in the chemical lab
- Do not pipette by mouth as it could be risky, use pipette bulbs or disposable pipettes
- Never leave an ongoing experiment unattended
- If you spill a chemical, clean it immediately
- Mixing, measuring, or heating a chemical should never be done in front of the face
- Follow the electric safety rules of the electrical equipment you are using
- Read and understand the safety rules when dealing with a laser beam
- Follow the appropriate order while mixing reagents, for example, adding acid to water
- Always wash the exposed area of the skin
- Don’t play mad scientist
- Examine glassware before use