Transferring Liquids

Liquids generally may be transferred by decanting (pouring) from one container to another. Smaller volumes may be transferred with a dropper or Pasteur pipette (Figure 1). Depending on their style, they have a total capacity of 1 to 2 milliliters of liquid and may be used to estimate volumes on this scale when accuracy is not critical. Always hold the source and destination containers as close as possible in order to prevent loss from spills or evaporation during transfer. Handling the pipette with one hand and the liquid container with the other ensures maximum physical control during the transfer process. To avoid potential contamination of the stock material, pipettes or other devices should not be placed in the stock liquid container. Instead, estimate the necessary volume of liquid and pour this amount into a beaker or other appropriate holding container. The required amount of liquid may then be measured directly from this sample.