Choosing the Right Laboratory Sink

Fireclay Sink

When kitting out a lab, it’s important to consider fittings that are durable and strong to ensure longevity and safety. Just like choosing a hard-wearing floor covering or deciding upon the perfect easy-clean work surface, it’s a necessary requirement that you find lab sinks that will also stand up to the rigours of everyday lab activities.

The ceramic fireclay laboratory sinks that we offer are suitable for use in labs in research facilities, hospitals, schools and universities. Each sink is also compatible with the Vulcathene chemical drainage system, meaning that you can have a hard-wearing sink and extremely durable drainage system to remove chemical waste safely and efficiently.

Fireclay Sink

What is fireclay?

A fireclay sink is handmade from white clay that’s mixed with water, poured into moulds, dried out, and then fired. When the sink is in the kiln, specialist clay and glaze fuse together to create a hard-wearing material: fireclay.

The sinks are fired at extremely high temperatures of around 1600 degrees Celsius, around 400 degrees hotter than the temperatures used to fire enamelled cast iron. The result is a finished product that’s resistant to acids and alkalis, as well as being durable and chip-resistant.

Sink Measurements

What are the benefits of a fireclay laboratory sink?

Fireclay Sink Benefits

Anti-Bacterial Surface

A fireclay sink is resistant to chips and scratches, meaning that there are no unglazed crevices created that can harbour dirt and bacteria. When cleaning the sink, use mild cleaning fluids or baking soda and a soft cloth, and scrape any stubborn materials away with a spatula. Rinse the sink after each use.

Waste Disposal Compatible

Each fireclay sink is compatible with Vulcathene. Vulcathene is a waste management system that is suitable for labs. This means that it is possible to rinse chemical waste, hazardous waste, and biomedical waste down the sink.

Heat Proof

Fireclay sinks are resistant to high temperatures, with a melting point above 1,600 degrees Celsius, as they are made in kilns. A fireclay sink’s heatproof properties make it the perfect choice for laboratory use. It is safe to put hot equipment in there to cool before cleaning, like hot test tubes or flasks, for example.


Fireclay sinks are well-known for their durability: they are heat resistant, impact resistant, dirt resistant, chemical resistant and stain resistant. Their durability makes them very easy to care for – simply wipe down with soap and water or use a cleaning fluid.

Impact Resistant

Reinforced ceramic is hardy, so the sink won’t chip when equipment is put inside it. However, you should place items into the sink carefully to avoid damage to the equipment.

How to install a fireclay lab sink

If you’re installing a new lab from scratch, you may have designed it around pre-existing plumbing. Fireclay lab sinks are heavy so it’s important to ensure there’s adequate provision for the sink. Wherever it’ll be installed, a fire clay sink will most likely need reinforcement around the bench.

You can also choose for your lab sink to be mounted in different ways: under-mounted, or dropped-in (see our sink mounting clips). To under-mount the sink, a hole should be cut in the work surface. Fit the sink into the cabinet, and then mount the worktop around it. Under-mount sinks are useful because they allow you to wipe water and other spills easily into the sink. Choose to mount the sink flush with the worktop or with the worktop overhanging the sink to create a work surface that is easy to clean and maintain.

Sinks and Vulcathene

All our sink offerings are perfectly compatible with Vulcathene chemical drainage products.

You’ll need the waste part and from there you can connect to the bottle trap.

For the laboratory style sink you’ll need the unslotted waste style and for the Belfast sink you’ll need the slotted waste.

For further information, don’t hesitate to call 01204 388 814.

Ways to Use Vulcathene

Vulcathene is a BBA approved chemical resistant plumbing system that is manufactured by Durapipe, a British company that was founded in 1954. It is the only chemical drainage system that has proven itself by standing the test of time.

The lightweight nature of Vulcathene means that it can be installed quickly and easily by any contractor. Individual fittings help to reduce the probability of blockage due to efficient waste flow designs and glass traps on the base of drip cups ensure that valuables that are accidentally flushed down the sink can be identified and recovered.

The Vulcathene range of products includes waste outlets, sinks, drip cups, anti-siphon traps and dilution recovery traps. It also has a range of pipes and fittings in various sizes. The pipes can handle all types of chemicals including acids, alkalis, solvents, detergents, blood samples, retro viruses and radioactive wastes.

Vulcathene should be used in laboratories where chemical waste is often washed away down the sink. Its integrity guarantees that it works well when installed in schools, universities, hospitals and research facilities.

Using Vulcathene in labs in schools and universities

Since its introduction in 1954, Vulcathene has been a staple in the plumbing used in schools, universities and colleges all over the world. If you are planning a lab in a school or university, a Vulcathene drainage system and chemical waste sink will be necessary.

After installation, chemical waste will be transported safely from sinks in science labs through the waste drainage system or through the main drainage system for offsite disposal. The anti-siphon traps that can be built into a Vulcathene system ensure that there is no backflow of hazardous fumes, prioritising the safety of students and teachers, and recovery traps make sure that any items that get accidentally dropped down the sink can be recovered easily.

Using Vulcathene in hospitals

Vulcathene is also ideal for use in hospitals so chemicals, blood, and hazardous waste can be drained away without a risk of contamination in other water supplies.

Vulcathene can be installed to great effect in operating theatres and pathology laboratories to safely dispose of chemical and clinical waste. The waste can then be collected safely and transferred to an underground drainage system for disposal.

Vulcathene in research organisations

Vulcathene provides unobtrusive and durable drainage solutions for research organisations that work with potentially harmful materials. Capable of incorporating several different drainage system elements such as drip cups and sinks, it’s a thorough system that can be modified to include any elements that you might need to improve the safety or effectiveness of your drainage. A Vulcathene system can also be easily updated thanks to its modular nature, meaning lab extensions or reorganisations aren’t an issue.

A key example of an element that could be included in a research organisation facility is the anti-siphon trap – ensuring that there is no backflow of hazardous substances and keeping workers safe. Vulcathene is also particularly suitable for use in large organisations as it can be implemented across a high volume of sinks in large laboratories, providing comprehensive drainage protection.

Arboles UK hold large quantities of stock of both Vulcathene and laboratory taps, we are also suppliers of laboratory and Belfast style sinks making us a perfect one stop shop for laboratory fit outs.

The Vulcathene product set is available as BIM download to aid your design process.



Continuing to drive innovation in laboratory drainage solutions, Vulcathene Chemical Drainage has launched a NEW Adjustable Anti-Siphon Trap to offer further flexibility to designers and installers of laboratory drainage systems.

Designed in direct response to market feedback, all Vulcathene anti-siphon bottle and dilution recovery traps will now incorporate an adjustable inlet to offer easier installation and replacement when height adjustment between the waste outlet and the waste pipe is required.

The new telescopic trap features a 1-1/2” loose nut coupling to allow connection to Vulcathene wastes or drip cup tails, with the adjustable inlet allowing height extension up to a maximum of 114mm, and the trap outlet supplied with a nut and olive to connect to 38mm Vulcathene pipe.

With safety of paramount importance, the loose nut couplings on the new traps have been updated from black to purple colour, to enable a clear visual identification that the trap is Vulcathene and therefore purpose-designed and approved for laboratory chemical drainage.

The new, adjustable inlet will be incorporated within all Vulcathene trap variants including Borosilicate glass base and dilution recovery traps. The Vulcathene range of anti-siphon traps are designed to retain their liquid seals under the most demanding conditions, preventing the backflow of potentially hazardous fumes.

Commenting on the range enhancement, Des Dolan, Vulcathene Product Manager said: “We are continually speaking with our customers and their installers to gain feedback on market and application requirements to ensure we continue to offer solutions that meet their needs.

“Installers often need to adjust the height of the bottle trap under the sink or drip cup to connect to the pre-installed Vulcathene waste pipe, so we wanted to offer a solution to make this installation easier. The adjustable inlet offers new flexibility for installers and we have already had exceptional feedback on trial applications and we are expecting this to be a hugely popular enhancement.”

Available in sizes from 38mm – 152mm, Vulcathene is a purpose designed chemical drainage system available in two easy jointing methods; Mechanical for demountable joints and Enfusion for welded joints, offering complete flexibility for designers and installers of chemical waste systems. BBA approved for laboratory drainage, Vulcathene offers educational, research and healthcare establishments the reassurance that it has a proven pedigree over more than 60 years in dealing with all manner of chemical waste combinations from laboratories across the world.

For further information on Vulcathene or any other products within the Durapipe UK portfolio please call us on 01204 388 814 or have a look at:


Arboles UK - Vulcathene Telescopic Bottle Trap

Arboles UK – Vulcathene Telescopic Bottle Trap


What Is Vulcathene?

vulcathene logo

Vulcathene is a complete chemical resistant laboratory plumbing system which includes waste outlets, sinks, drip cups, anti-siphon traps, dilution recovery traps, and a comprehensive range of pipe and fittings in sizes 38mm to 152mm.

Vulcathene boasts over 60 years of performance and was purposefully designed for safely draining aggressive chemical substances in laboratories. It is also lightweight, which makes it easy to handle and quick and easy to install.

What is Vulcathene made of?

Vulcathene is manufactured from co-polymer polypropylene with 3% carbon black ultra violet stabiliser. All pipes and Vulcathene fittings are injection moulded from virgin grade polypropylene.

Vulcathene mechanical system

The Vulcathene mechanical system is a complete purpose-designed chemical resistant plumbing system which embraces laboratory bench items such as wastes, sinks and drip cups, anti-siphon traps, clay traps, visual inspection traps, expansion joints plus a comprehensive range of pipe fittings from 38mm to 102mm.

As the joints between elements are mechanical, they are demountable (as opposed to the enfusion system where the parts are fused together). This gives you the opportunity to change your Vulcathene set up if necessary. Under normal laboratory conditions, the Vulcathene mechanical drainage system is more than sufficient.

vulcathene mechanical system

Where is Vulcathene used?

Vulcathene has been proven to handle all chemical combinations including acids, alkalis, solvents, detergents, blood samples, retro viruses and radioactive wastes. It’s also temperature rated for environments between -20°C and 100°C.

It’s for these reasons that Vulcathene it is typically used in:

  • Laboratories in schools
  • Universities and colleges
  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Research organisations
  • Industrial plants
  • Shopping centres, cinema’s and airports

Experiments in science laboratories typically involve corrosive or otherwise dangerous chemicals which can be damaging to typical plumbing systems but Vulcathene takes care of the disposal of these substances safely.

Less expectedly, it is also often used in large cinema complexes, airports, shopping centres, or anywhere else where there is a large throughput of the public. This being partly due to the sheer volume of people using those facilities, as well as the shift in our diets towards more acidic drinks which can rot standard domestic pipes and fittings. This is something that has only come about in the past 20 years, so Vulcathene’s utility is only increasing.

If you’re researching Vulcathene to find out if it’s suitable for your facility or premises, contact us today to get more information from our experts or check out our full range of Vulcathene drainage products.