Laboratory mortar, what is it and how much is it worth?

November 2, 2021

Within laboratories, a large number of utensils and instruments can be used, so it can be a bit overwhelming to learn the name of everything and understand how each one works. Here we will thoroughly explain everything about the laboratory mortar , from what it is, what it does, its main characteristics and how to use it.

What is the laboratory mortar?

The laboratory mortar is a laboratory instrument that is made up of two parts: a stick and a vessel ; which are normally used in order to crush different substances or ingredients until they end up converted into smaller pieces, depending on the consistency of the substances that are crushed.

The use of this utensil is quite common within chemical laboratories, since thanks to its use, users can turn different solid elements into powder or leave it in smaller pieces, being of great help so that they can continue carrying out their tests.

In fact, the laboratory mortar is one of the most common utensils in chemical laboratories, since they have been used since ancient times , being a tool used by scientists and pharmacists to create medicines and other substances with different purposes.

It is known that these utensils began to be used thousands of years ago by chemists, being able to find mortars that date back to 35 thousand years BC , so they really go hand in hand with chemical laboratories.

Main features

When talking about the main characteristics of laboratory mortars we have to make it clear that it is a utensil that can be found in different sizes depending on the needs of the laboratory.

Among the most common measures that are usually used are mortars with a capacity between 80ml to 500m l, in the same way that the materials from which they are made can vary depending on the specific needs that are had.

However, it is important to keep in mind that you must be made of specific materials, since the quality of the materials of the utensils used in chemical and pharmaceutical laboratories is very important.


These are some of the most common materials in laboratory mortars :

  • Ceramics
  • Quartz
  • Glass
  • Diamonite
  • Metal
  • Porcelain

Porcelain mortars are very common, but these are not used within pharmaceutical or chemical laboratories because it is a porous material that has a great capacity to absorb the elements with which it comes into contact, something that is clearly not very useful within a laboratory.

This is because the chemical elements that are crushed in the laboratory mortar can suffer alterations with the contamination of the porcelain, which is why they should not be used in laboratories.


The aforementioned materials are the most used because they do not present porosity (such as porcelain), preventing the samples from being contaminated. That is why impermeability is one of the most important factors that must be present in these utensils.

Chemical resistance

Although the chemical resistance of a mortar is not as important as in other utensils, such as a flask, it is still one of the characteristics required so that they can be used without risk or that there is no erosion or corrosion damage.

Thermal resistance

It is true that it is not an instrument that is frequently exposed to high temperatures, but as it is laboratory material in which you can work with different samples, it is important that it has good thermal resistance to be able to treat all kinds of elements in different conditions.

Types of laboratory mortar

Being an instrument that has been used since ancient times, it is normal to find a large number of mortars, changing shape and materials depending on the culture that used them. But if we talk specifically about laboratory mortars, we do not find a unique design .

In this way, laboratory mortars are classified by material and size. As we indicated above, the smallest usually have a capacity of 800ml, while the largest have a capacity of 500ml.

Regarding the materials, they are usually changed depending on the needs you have. That is, glass mortar is often used when you want it to have good waterproofing, but do not have good thermal resistance.

Precisely to avoid these problems in laboratories, more modern equipment is used to be able to pulverize the elements or substances.


As we have specified previously, laboratory mortars are used to grind different elements to be able to study and analyze them more easily. The crushing process is very important in laboratories when testing these elements.

It is true that in ancient times and several decades ago their use was much more extensive within laboratories, but they are still being used. They are a very useful utensil that does not require specific knowledge to be able to use it effectively, so it is still possible to find them within laboratories.

The reason why they are used less frequently today is because the advancement of technology has allowed the creation of different machines that can perform this work with greater speed and without requiring any effort from the users, although in some Sometimes laboratory mortars are simply preferred.

In reality, the only variant between manual mortar and machines is the speed and force that it can apply on the elements, being able to take them from solids to powder in a matter of seconds.

In the case of manual mortar, you simply have to place the element you want to spray inside the container and then crush it using the stick until the element has the desired size.

The history of the laboratory mortar

Being one of the utensils most used by pharmacists and scientists for thousands of years, mortar has not changed much over the centuries, having very slight variations in the materials used to make them in order to improve their durability and keep the elements that are sprayed pure.

Since ancient times its use was very common among pharmacists, who crushed herbs and other ingredients in order to make medicinal remedies. As the years went by, its shape and materials changed, in addition to its use extended to other areas such as the kitchen and within chemical laboratories in which elements were crushed in order to be able to analyze them comfortably.

The mortar is so old that even in Ancient Egyptian papyri documentation has been found about them , in addition to the fact that they are also mentioned in the Old Testament, so it is clear that it is one of the oldest utensils that mankind has used. .

Other ancient civilizations such as the Aztecs and the Mayans in Mesoamerica also used mortars to grind different elements and herbs. Remains that are more than 6,000 years old have been found, all made of basalt. Also cultures such as the Hindu or the Japanese made extensive use of mortars to be able to work with healing herbs.

It is true that today their use is more frequent in the kitchen, but we cannot deny that throughout the history of mankind they have had a very important role in the pharmaceutical and scientific world.

What are their prices and where can they be bought?

Lab mortars are readily available at any science equipment and instrument store.

Its price can vary a lot depending on the material from which it is made and its size, and can range from $ 5 to $ 150 depending on the needs that are had in the laboratory.

Dr. Loony Davis5
 | Website

Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *