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What is the difference between a wet and dry laboratory?

Updated: May 23, 2023

When it comes to scientific research, there are two main types of laboratories: wet labs and dry labs. Both are very different and fundamentally will need specific design considerations to suit the environment.


What is a wet laboratory?

Wet labs are used for experiments that involve the manipulation of physical materials, such as chemicals, biological samples, or other substances.


Wet labs typically contain a variety of equipment and tools used to conduct experiments with physical materials. This includes items such as beakers, test tubes, microscopes, centrifuges, and other laboratory apparatus. In addition to these items, wet labs also contain safety equipment such as gloves and goggles to protect researchers from hazardous materials. Wet lab experiments often involve mixing chemicals together or observing the effects of different substances on living organisms.



A scientist looking at a sample through a microscope


Designing a wet lab

Designing a wet laboratory is an important task that requires careful consideration of the space, equipment, and safety protocols. Wet laboratories are used for a variety of scientific experiments and research projects, so it’s important to ensure that the design meets the needs of the scientists who will be using it. Here are some tips for designing a successful wet laboratory.


1. Consider the layout:

The layout of a wet laboratory should be designed with efficiency in mind. It should be easy to move around and access all areas of the lab without having to move too much equipment or supplies. Consider how much space you need for each type of experiment or research project and plan accordingly.


2. Choose appropriate materials:

When designing a wet laboratory, it’s important to choose materials that are resistant to water and other liquids that may be used in experiments.


3. Install proper ventilation:

Proper ventilation is essential in any laboratory setting, but especially in a wet lab where chemicals and other hazardous materials may be present. Make sure there is adequate ventilation throughout the lab so that fumes can escape safely without endangering anyone inside or outside of the lab.


4. Invest in safety equipment:

Safety should always be a top priority when designing any type of laboratory, but especially when dealing with hazardous materials like those found in a wet lab setting. Make sure you have all necessary safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, eye wash stations, emergency showers, etc., installed before anyone begins working in the lab.


5. Plan for storage:

Storage is an important part of any laboratory design, but especially when dealing with hazardous materials like those found in a wet lab setting. Make sure you have enough storage space for all necessary supplies and equipment so that everything can be easily accessed when needed without having to search through cluttered shelves or drawers full of items not related to your experiments or research projects. Designing a successful wet laboratory requires careful planning and consideration of all aspects involved from layout to safety protocols and storage solutions. By following these tips you can ensure your wet lab meets all necessary requirements while providing an efficient workspace for your scientists to conduct their experiments and research projects safely and effectively.


What is a dry laboratory?

Dry labs are used for experiments that involve the manipulation of data or information, such as computer programming or statistical analysis.

Dry labs are typically equipped with computers and other digital devices used to analyse data or create simulations. This type of lab is often used for research involving computer programming or statistical analysis. Dry lab experiments may involve creating models to simulate real-world phenomena or analysing large datasets to uncover patterns and trends.


Both wet and dry labs have their own unique advantages and disadvantages when it comes to conducting scientific research. Wet labs allow researchers to directly observe the effects of different substances on living organisms while dry labs provide a more efficient way to analyse large amounts of data quickly. Ultimately, the type of lab needed depends on the specific research project being conducted.


A scientist looking at a circuit board in a dry laboratory

Designing a dry lab



A dry laboratory is a space that is designed to be free of moisture and humidity, which can be damaging to sensitive equipment and materials. It is also important to ensure that the environment in the dry laboratory is properly ventilated and temperature controlled due to the increase of heat dispelled by machinery such as 3D printers, high-tech computers and multiple machinery.


The layout of a dry laboratory should also be carefully considered. It should be designed in such a way that all the necessary equipment and materials can easily be accessed without having to move around too much. Additionally, it should also provide enough room for personnel to move around comfortably while working in the space. Finally, when designing a dry laboratory, it is important to consider how best to maintain its environment over time. This includes ensuring that all the necessary safety features are in place and regularly maintained, as well as making sure that any changes in temperature or humidity are monitored closely so that they do not become too extreme. Additionally, regular cleaning and maintenance should also be performed on all the equipment and materials used in the space to ensure their longevity.


Overall, designing a dry laboratory requires careful consideration of both safety features and layout design in order to ensure its optimal functioning over time. By taking these factors into account when designing your own dry laboratory, you can ensure that your research projects are conducted safely and efficiently.



Need help with your next lab project?

You might be considering a new laboratory space, either in an existing laboratory or a completely new build.

The team at Unilab can support you and have a wealth of experience in design, build and servicing laboratories. We manage the build from initial conversation to the handover and beyond.


We would like to hear from you and look forward to helping you achieve the next big discovery.



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