A Science Lab’s Guide to Temperature Mapping


Scientific and technological advances power our everyday lives and the modern global economy. It’s easy to take the computer, smartphone, and internet connection you use to do your job, connect with loved ones, and learn about the world for granted. These all were made possible by the advancement of modern science and engineering. The same is true of the medications and lifesaving medical procedures you need. 

It’s even easier to take for granted all of the tools and technology that enable these scientific breakthroughs to take place. World-leading scientists and laboratories rely on a specific set of technologies and procedures to ensure the accuracy and legitimacy of their research. This work often occurs behind closed doors and out of the public’s view. 

Temperature mapping is an essential practice that thousands of laboratories use to keep biological substances stable when using them in research or experiments. Labs employ temperature mapping by using ambient temperature monitoring technology to take temperature readings and store data internally or export it to external computer systems. Temperature data is collected from many different locations at once so that labs can create a map showing the different temperatures within a specific physical area. 

Temperature mapping is an essential accessory to temperature monitoring for cold storage of temperature-sensitive biological material. That means it has immense applicability to laboratories and storage facilities worldwide. Let’s look at how temperature mapping can be used by laboratories and its important role in scientific balances research.

Temperature Mapping for Laboratories and Pharmacies 

It has always been important for scientists to keep uniform temperatures in a laboratory setting. That’s because deviations in temperature can impact the outcome of experiments by changing the chemical structure of biological substances. Temperature deviations can also heat or cool lab equipment, adding a significant variable to experiments. 

Temperature control is essential to ensure accurate results, but it is also crucial in maintaining international standards, known as good laboratory practices

Standardizing temperatures is also vital for laboratories involved in running clinical trials since temperature deviations can confound studies and even cause problems when getting trials accepted by prominent medical journals. Moreover, adhering to standardized regulatory guidelines also helps researchers uphold the public’s trust in science

To this end, laboratories generally have setpoints that denote the specific temperature that researchers need to maintain in each lab section. This concept goes back a long time, and before the 1970s, labs used mechanical temperature monitoring systems to keep temperatures at about 20ºC. 

Towards the end of the 1970s, researchers realized that more reliable, modern systems were needed, and electronic, computerized temperature monitors began to crop up in labs around the country. These electronic systems were more accurate and more automated than the traditional, manual temperature monitoring techniques. 

Similarly, pharmacies have always needed temperatures to be stable where they keep sensitive medical products. Pharmacies were quick to adopt electronic ambient temperature monitors and digitally-enabled systems to keep the temperatures of their storage facilities stable. This adoption also allows the backing up of temperature data to mitigate the dangers of data outages

Covid-19 vaccines have brought the importance of temperature monitoring and mapping into the public conversation because medical facilities must store COVID-19 vaccines at very low temperatures. Vaccine packaging, storage, and handling are a significant priority for pharmacies amidst the pandemic. 

Moreover, temperature monitoring is just one piece of the puzzle for labs and pharmacies. According to Dickson Data, labs and pharmacies must also create temperature mapping procedures to ensure good laboratory practices and protect medical products. 

For example, suppose a medical product is stored in a particular facility. In that case, temperatures might vary in that facility, exposing some products to too high or too low temperatures. Temperature mapping allows technicians to keep temperatures within each part of the facility at a uniform temperature or within a specific range. 

The Importance of Data Loggers in Temperature Mapping 

Data loggers are electronic devices that measure and record environmental data such as temperature, differential pressure, and humidity. This data is stored locally and later exported to external hard drives or computers. Many data loggers can also transmit this data to other devices over the internet. 

Big data has changed many aspects of our lives, from how we store personal information to how offices function, but nowhere is the importance of data more pronounced than in the laboratory. 

Data loggers are necessary for any lab setting up temperature mapping systems. They should be placed in different locations throughout the lab to ensure that no area reaches temperatures that deviate from levels demanded by staff or by regulators. Data loggers can even be attached to particular pieces of laboratory equipment so that researchers can be sure that this equipment isn’t overheating or affecting the outcome of experiments. 

Staff can create temperature mapping models that include each area of the lab and lab equipment. These models can be programmed to update when temperatures change in the lab. Data loggers are also configured to send alerts to the lab’s staff if temperatures deviate from a specific range.

Specialized Data Loggers 

Some labs or science and technology startups might also need to consider incorporating other environmental data in their temperature mapping models. It could be necessary to monitor humidity levels, CO2 levels, or pressure levels at different locations in the lab to prevent these other variables from confounding research.3

To this end, labs might need to consider purchasing more specialized data loggers such as differential pressure sensors, CO2 probes, or water leak transmitters. Many of these specialized data loggers will take measurements such as pH, which can help determine if certain chemical reactions have taken place in biological material in the lab. Researchers use others to assess if doors in a lab have been left open or closed to prevent the accidental exposure of biological materials to unsuitable environments. 

It’s also important to note that data loggers collect data using various mechanisms such as thermocouples, resistance temperature detectors, junction-based sensor systems, and thermistors. So, labs should choose data loggers recognized by the regulatory agencies that oversee their specific needs or niche.

To sum up, temperature mapping is crucial for laboratories to conduct legitimate research and store biological material. Placing specific data loggers around different areas in a lab is the best way to facilitate accurate temperature mapping and comply with regulatory guidelines.

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