Worked with metal beads and floating plastic balls in water baths. Don’t really appreciate both. The plastic balls (like ping pong balls) reduce splashing somewhat but you need to clean everything way more often or add a preservative. The metal beads are kinda cool but for proper heating it takes more time and you can’t use it for quickly dipping a small tube inside or quickly do this or that… and it’s heavy.
You could simply put some styrofoam insulation chips in your water bath. Doesn’t cost anything and easily disposed of after work.
@tracingrobots Next time you order something, check out the space in the cardboard box around the order and look for a gazillion packaging insulation flakes made out of styrofoam. Finally a use for this annoying filling material! Form and size don’t really matter as long as they float on top of the water. Sure, your beakers will still be dripping water all over the place… only metal beads help with that or use a thermostat regulated heating/magnetic stirrer instead of a water bath (though it’s not quite the same).
BTW polystyrene melts at about 240°C, no worries there. Just don’t use the starch/eco version, they’re water soluble.