Which expensive chemistry lab equipment can students use in a virtual lab?

Ginelle Testa

You want the best for your students, but chemistry lab budgets are seemingly getting smaller, and some lab equipment and supply costs are way out of budget. What if you could access state-of-the-art chemistry equipment for all your students without spending tons of money? Labster’s virtual simulations offer the chance to learn about and play with expensive equipment from the comfort of your classroom or students’ homes. 

Here are six pieces of chemistry lab equipment students can use with Labster that they likely cannot access in the classroom.

  1. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectrometer - $1,000,000
  2. Bomb calorimeter - $5,000
  3. HPLC Machine - $100,000
  4. Mass Spectrometer - $50,000
  5. Flow Injection Analysis (FIA) Machine - $25,000

1.) Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectrometer 

How often do students get to perform experiments with an NMR spectrometer? These machines run for millions of dollars, making them inaccessible to classrooms (Sheville, 2022). With Labster’s Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectrometer virtual lab, “Explore Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR): Analyze small protein samples,” students can gain virtual experience from a theoretical and practical perspective. Four different Labster simulations utilize an NMR spectrometer.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)

2.) Bomb calorimeter

Calorimeters can be an engaging way to learn the fundamentals of thermodynamics. With Labster’s virtual lab, “Calorimetry: Using a bomb calorimeter,” students can apply the technique to help solve the challenge of storing renewable energy and learn about the first law of thermodynamics, enthalpy, and internal energy. This tool can cost $5,000 or more, and you’d need more than one for students to access in class (“Gowe oxygen bomb calorimeter,” n.d.).

bomb calorimeter 2

3.) HPLC Machine

Chromatography is an essential technique used by pharmacists, and drug stability is an important issue that students pursuing this career must be aware of. However, a new HPLC machine to help teach this can cost up to $100,000 (“HPLC system total cost of ownership calculator,” n.d.). With Labster’s virtual lab, “HPLC,” students get to identify the components of the HPLC machine and use it to separate and measure the different compounds of a medicine.

hlpc 3

4.) Mass Spectrometer

It can be challenging for classrooms to access a mass spectrometer, as a nice one can run you $50,000 or more (Mass spectrometer listings, n.d.). In Labster’s “Mass Spectrometry” virtual lab, students will learn all there is to know about the basic functionalities of a mass spectrometer, and they’ll master spectra interpretation with examples that mimic a real-life exam.

mass spectronomy 2

5.) Flow Injection Analysis (FIA) Machine

Flow injection analysis machines are used by chemists but can be inaccessible in the classroom. With Labster’s “Flow Injection Analysis” virtual lab, students can help scientists measure the concentration of caffeine in drinks. Further, they can explore the different parts of the FIA machine in detail through a 3D animation that illustrates the main mechanisms of the machine. The FIA device can run buyers $25,000 or more (“Flow Injection Analysis”, n.d.).


6.) Melting Point Apparatus

This apparatus can be used to determine the purity of a sample quickly. Melting point machines can start at $5,000 (“Melting point apparatus,” n.d.). With Labster’s melting point apparatus virtual lab, “Melting Point Analysis: Pure or impure?” students can break apart key components behind a functioning melting point machine to better understand them. Students can also virtually build their own functional melting point machine from common laboratory equipment.

Heat chamber

Virtual labs as a supplement

Virtual lab simulations aren’t meant to replace an in-person lab completely; they’re meant to supplement what you already have and give students access to a million-dollar lab they wouldn’t otherwise be able to try.

You want to equip your students with the best knowledge and experience they can possibly get and with our catalog of almost 300 simulations, we can help you do that at a lower price than you would pay to maintain expensive machinery and supplies. 

Get Labster’s educators’ all-access 30-day pass to try these simulations and hundreds more!


Flow Injection Analysis (FIA). Hach. (n.d.). Retrieved August 26, 2022, from https://my.hach.com/flow-injection-analysis-fia/family?productCategoryId=59429623938 

Gowe oxygen bomb calorimeter, heat capacity: 14400 J/K~14500 J/K. (n.d.). SPW Industrial. Retrieved from https://spwindustrial.com/gowe-oxygen-bomb-calorimeter-heat-capacity-14400-j-k-14500-j-k/ 

HPLC system total cost of ownership calculator. (n.d.). Thermo Fisher Scientific - US. Retrieved from https://www.thermofisher.com/us/en/home/industrial/chromatography/liquid-chromatography-lc/hplc-uhplc-systems/hplc-system-total-cost-ownership-calculator.html 

Mass spectrometer listings. (n.d.). LabX. Retrieved from http://www.labx.com/mass-spectrometer 

Melting point apparatus listings.  (n.d.). LabX. Retrieved from https://www.labx.com/melting-point-apparatus 

Oi analytical 3700 automated chemistry analyzer with 3090 Auto Sampler. (n.d.) SPW Industrial. . Retrieved from https://spwindustrial.com/oi-analytical-3700-automated-chemistry-analyzer-with-3090-auto-sampler/?gclid=CjwKCAjw3qGYBhBSEiwAcnTRLoy_zpw5dDMHlW3V1IQ6SONWprXnrBXumPTMYyAvSg8lFKfbtm2JlRoCzDwQAvD_BwE 

Sheville, J. (2022, March 18). How much does an EFT-NMR cost? Anasazi Instruments. Retrieved from https://www.aiinmr.com/nmr-spectroscopy-q-a-blog/How-much-does-an-Eft-NMR-Cost

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