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A lab report documents the theory, methods, and results of your experiment to demonstrate your understanding of research and scientific methodology. In this article, we’ll tell you how to write a lab report with the help of some useful examples.
For many students, writing a lab report can be confusing: how to format it, what to include and not include, and so on. The questions are endless! Just remember that your lab report will allow others to reproduce your results and draw their own conclusions. This will help you write a lab report that’s well-formatted and organized.
In true Resource Center fashion, let’s start with the basics: What exactly is a lab report?
A laboratory report is a document written to describe and analyze an experiment that addresses a scientific inquiry. A lab report helps you conduct an experiment and then systematically design a conclusion based on your hypothesis.
Note: A lab report is not the same as a lab notebook. A notebook is a detailed log you keep throughout the study. A lab report is a concise summary that you submit after the study is done, usually for a final grade.
A lab report typically follows this format:
This is a broad list of sections you might have to include in your lab report, but by no means is this compulsory or exhaustive. You should always refer to the course or university guidelines to understand the desired format.
A lab report should be clear, concise, and well-organized, and it should include all the necessary information for others to replicate your experiment. Since the lab report format is designed to serve this purpose, you must follow it to the bone while writing your report.
Let’s start with learning how to title a lab report.
The title of your lab report should:
It’s a good idea to avoid phrasing the title as a question. Remember, your title doesn’t have to be witty or clever, just descriptive and to the point. Here are a few title examples that can clarify this for you:
Analysis of DNA fragment lengths using gel electrophoresis
The effects of temperature on enzyme activity in yeast cells
Investigating the corrosion resistance of Aluminum alloys
Study of chemical kinetics through the decomposition of Hydrogen Peroxide
Quantifying bacterial growth rates in different culture media
While it’s not necessary to dedicate an entire page to the title, some universities might ask for a title page. If you’ve been asked to make this, include the following details:
An abstract is a brief but comprehensive overview of the purpose, findings, and larger relevance of your experiment. It communicates the essential details of your study to your readers, whether it’s evaluators or peers.
Follow these tips to write a lab report abstract:
An abstract is usually only a page long (typically between 100 and 250 words), so your writing must be concise and crisp.
Bonus tip: Although the abstract is the first section of your report, it’s best to write it toward the end. Much easier to summarize the report after it’s been written!
This experiment aimed to investigate the corrosion resistance of two different aluminum alloys: 6061-T6 and 7075-T6. The experiment involved exposing samples of each alloy to a 3% NaCl solution for a period of 72 hours and then measuring the weight loss of the samples. The results showed that 6061-T6 had a weight loss of 0.10 g, while 7075-T6 had a weight loss of 0.25 g, indicating that 6061-T6 was more corrosion resistant. These findings suggest that the composition of the alloy has a significant impact on its resistance to corrosion. This information is important for industries that use aluminum alloys in environments that are prone to corrosion, such as marine applications or chemical processing. Further research could explore the specific mechanisms that contribute to the corrosion resistance of different aluminum alloys and could investigate the effects of other environmental factors on corrosion.
The lab report introduction provides your readers with background information on your experiment and its significance. It should be brief and to the point, so a few paragraphs is the maximum length recommended.
You can adopt either of two modes to write your introduction:
Follow these steps to write your lab report introduction:
Make sure you use your own words rather than following a templatized format.
Aluminum alloys are widely used in a variety of industrial applications due to their excellent strength-to-weight ratio, good corrosion resistance, and other desirable properties. However, the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys can vary depending on their composition, and understanding the factors that contribute to corrosion resistance is crucial for their effective use in harsh environments. In this experiment, we aim to investigate the corrosion resistance of two different aluminum alloys: 6061-T6 and 7075-T6.
These alloys were selected because they are commonly used in industrial applications and have different compositions, with 6061-T6 containing magnesium and silicon, while 7075-T6 contains zinc and copper. By exposing samples of each alloy to a 3% NaCl solution and measuring the weight loss of the samples over time, we can determine which alloy is more corrosion-resistant and gain insight into the factors that contribute to their corrosion resistance. This information is important for industries that use aluminum alloys in harsh environments, such as marine and aerospace applications, and can contribute to the development of more effective corrosion-resistant materials.
The lab report methods section documents the methods, subjects, materials, and equipment you used to collect data. This is a record of the steps you followed and not the steps as they were prescribed.
Follow these tips to write a lab report method section:
Your methods section should be accurate enough for other researchers to follow the instructions and obtain results similar to yours.
Weight loss and thickness measurements were recorded for each sample after the 72-hour immersion period. Corrosion rates were calculated using the weight loss, surface area, and time of immersion.
The experiment was conducted in a well-ventilated area with appropriate personal protective equipment, including gloves and goggles. Care was taken when handling the NaCl solution to avoid contact with the skin or eyes.
The experiment was conducted under controlled conditions, which may not reflect real-world scenarios. The NaCl solution concentration used may not be representative of all environmental conditions that aluminum alloys may encounter in industrial applications. Further research could explore a wider range of environmental factors to more accurately predict the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys.
The results section presents the findings of the experiment including the data you have collected and analyzed. In some cases, this section may be combined with the discussion section.
Put your findings into words and present relevant figures, tables, and graphs. You may also include the calculations you used to analyze the data.
Here are some guidelines on how to write a results section:
Add your raw data in the Appendices section and refer to it whenever required. Remember to use symbols and units of measurement correctly.
The aluminum alloys tested have varying degrees of corrosion resistance. Table 1 shows the corrosion rates for each sample, calculated as the percentage weight loss over the duration of the experiment.
Table 1: Corrosion rates for aluminum alloy samples
Sample Corrosion rate (%)
|Alloy sample||Corrosion rate|
As can be seen from Table 1, sample C had the lowest corrosion rate, indicating the highest resistance to corrosion among the four samples tested. Sample A had the highest corrosion rate, indicating the lowest corrosion resistance.
Figure 1 shows the corrosion morphology of the aluminum alloy samples after exposure to the saltwater solution for 7 days. The images were taken using scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
The SEM images show that sample C had the least amount of corrosion, with only small pits visible on the surface. Samples A and B showed more severe corrosion, with visible pitting and cracking. Sample D showed moderate corrosion, with some surface roughening and small pits.
In conclusion, the results of this experiment indicate that the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys varies depending on the composition of the alloy. Sample C, which had the lowest corrosion rate and the least amount of corrosion morphology, showed the highest resistance to corrosion among the four samples tested. Further research could investigate the effect of different environmental conditions on the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys.
The discussion section of a lab report is where you interpret and analyze the results of your experiment in the context of the research question or hypothesis. This is the most important part of the lab report because this is your contribution to your field of study.
Follow these guidelines to write your discussion section:
Your discussion section shouldn’t simply repeat the results but offer a critical interpretation and analysis of them. Furthermore, it should also reflect upon the methods and procedures undertaken and take stock of whether you applied processes most favorable for your subject.
The investigation into the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys has provided valuable insight into the behavior of these materials under various conditions. The results of the experiment indicated that the aluminum alloys tested had varying degrees of corrosion resistance depending on the specific alloy composition and environmental conditions.
Comparing the results to previous research in the field, the findings are consistent with the general understanding that aluminum alloys are susceptible to corrosion under certain circumstances. However, the exact mechanisms of corrosion and the specific factors that influence corrosion resistance are still subject to ongoing research.
One limitation of the experiment is the relatively short duration of exposure to the corrosive environment. Longer exposure times may have provided additional insights into the behavior of the aluminum alloys over time. Additionally, the use of only one type of corrosive environment may not accurately reflect the behavior of the materials in other environments.
The unexpected finding of pitting corrosion in Alloy B warrants further investigation to determine the underlying causes and potential solutions. Future research could also explore the effects of additional factors, such as temperature and humidity, on the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys.
Overall, the results of this experiment demonstrate the importance of considering the specific composition and environmental conditions when evaluating the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys. The findings have implications for the development of more durable and corrosion-resistant materials for various applications in industry and engineering.
The conclusion summarizes the experiment and its significance in your field of study. It’s usually one brief paragraph, and in some cases might be omitted altogether. Check with your instructor about whether or not you need to write a lab report conclusion.
Here’s how to write a lab report conclusion:
The investigation into the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys demonstrated that the aluminum alloys tested had varying degrees of corrosion resistance, depending on their specific composition and the nature of the corrosive environment. The results of the experiment are consistent with previous research in the field, and the findings support the notion that aluminum alloys are susceptible to corrosion under certain conditions.
The experiment also revealed some unexpected findings, such as the pitting corrosion observed in Alloy B. This finding warrants further investigation to determine the underlying causes and potential solutions.
The experiment was limited by the relatively short exposure time to the corrosive environment and the use of only one type of corrosive environment. Future research could explore the effects of longer exposure times and different corrosive environments on the corrosion resistance of aluminum alloys.
Overall, the results of this experiment provide important insights into the behavior of aluminum alloys and have implications for the development of more durable and corrosion-resistant materials for various applications in industry and engineering.
List all the sources you consulted while writing the lab report. Include the full bibliographic information in the appropriate format.
For lab reports in sciences and social sciences, the APA citation style is usually followed. Students of business, fine arts, and history will use Chicago style citations in their lab reports. In the rare event of a lab report under humanities, you’ll be expected to write your citations in MLA format.
Remember that failing to cite your sources is considered plagiarism and has serious consequences. Always give credit where credit is due!
The above examples accurately demonstrate the hallmarks of a good lab report. If you need help to perfect your lab report, you can consider taking our editing and proofreading services. Keep reading to perfect your writing skills!
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