Information on Plasticware
Lab plasticware refers to various types of plastic containers, tubes, and instruments that are used in scientific research and experiments. Proper use and disposal of plasticware is important to ensure accurate and reliable results, as well as to avoid contamination and environmental impact. It is also fundamental to choose the correct plasticware for the application and to follow manufacturer instructions for use, cleaning and disposal.
Lab plasticware can be made from various types of plastic materials, each with their unique properties that make them suitable for different applications. Below, the properties of some types of plastic materials used to make lab plasticware are briefly described:
There are several types of plastic materials used for lab plasticware, each with their own unique properties and advantages. Here are some examples of common plastics used in lab plasticware:
Polypropylene (PP). Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer that is used in many lab plasticware applications. It is resistant to many chemicals, including acids, bases, and organic solvents, and has a high melting point. It is commonly used for centrifuge tubes, test tubes, and pipette tips.
Polycarbonate (PC). Polycarbonate is a transparent thermoplastic polymer that is used in lab plasticware applications where optical clarity is important. It is highly impact-resistant, making it suitable for use in applications that require strength and durability. It is commonly used for cuvettes, Petri dishes, and beakers.
Polystyrene (PS). Polystyrene is a thermoplastic polymer that is commonly used in lab plasticware applications due to its clarity, rigidity, and ease of processing. It is resistant to many chemicals, but not as resistant as some other plastics. It is commonly used for culture dishes, test tubes, and pipettes.
Polyethylene (PE). Polyethylene is a thermoplastic polymer that is known for its low cost, flexibility, and chemical resistance. It is commonly used for disposable plasticware, such as disposable transfer pipettes, and microcentrifuge tubes.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Polyethylene terephthalate is a thermoplastic polymer that is transparent and has good chemical resistance. It is commonly used for storage bottles and vials, and for disposable plasticware.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Polyvinyl chloride is a thermoplastic polymer that is used in lab plasticware applications that require flexibility, such as tubing and disposable gloves. It is resistant to some chemicals but not as resistant as some other plastics.
Plasticware has some benefits over glassware. It can be easier to handle, lighter and more resistant to breakage. Plasticware is also available in a wider range of shapes and sizes, and some plastic materials can resist more extreme chemical and temperature conditions. However, there are also some disadvantages to consider:
While plasticware is generally resistant to many chemicals, it may not be as chemically resistant as glassware. Certain chemicals can leach into plastic containers and potentially affect the purity or accuracy of the experimental results.
Many plastic materials can melt or deform when exposed to high temperatures, which can be a disadvantage when working with high-temperature reactions or processes.
Plasticware is more prone to scratching than glassware. Scratches on plastic surfaces can create a site for bacterial growth and can also affect the accuracy of measurements.
Glassware is transparent and has excellent optical properties, which is essential for some experiments such as spectrophotometry. While plasticware is also transparent, it may not have the same level of clarity as glassware.
Many plastic materials are not biodegradable and can have a negative impact on the environment. Additionally, plastic waste can be difficult to recycle and can contribute to pollution.
Overall, the choice between lab plasticware and glassware will depend on the specific experimental requirements and personal preferences. While plasticware may have some disadvantages compared to glassware, it is often preferred for its durability, lower cost, and ease of use. It is important to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of each type of labware before choosing which one to use.