Centrifuge – When Choosing Lab And Education Materials, Look At The Following Material Supplier For The Top Bargains.

Plastic is oftentimes chosen over glass as it is less costly. For that glass industry, this has had negative consequences: As demand drops, prices experienced to increase. But, unlike disposable plastics, glass can be reused. And although greater than the cost of a comparable plastic item, the cost of a reusable glass item is diminished with every use. "Convenience features a price," says Nicoll. "Per-use expense is typically higher for any disposable in comparison to a reusable product, despite figuring in washing and preparation costs."

Some companies have discovered a distinct segment in the area of specialty glass. Scientists to whom a resident glassblower (see accompanying story) is not really available can make to specialty Centrifuge making use of their ideas for laboratory glassware. Cal-Glass's Cheatley recalls once being inspired to make glass hearts--not items of jewelry, but true replicas of human hearts where medical researchers could practice placing catheters.

Bellco now offers specialty glass items. Sometimes, says Nicoll, things that are engineered just for one scientist come out to get universal appeal to make their way into Bellco's catalog. "However," says Nicoll, "it seems that when specialty markets grow into a certain level for the item, somebody comes along and definitely makes the item from plastic." A lot of the more creative requests that Bellco has filled remain a secret--they arose from scientist customers in the pharmaceutical industry and are proprietary.

Cheatley is looking for new markets to defeat your competition caused by plastics and automation. The company recently introduced an all-glass photochemical treatment system referred to as the EcoStill, which extracts silver from spent photochemicals. As the stills are targeted primarily to be used inside the photoprocessing industry, Cheatley expects them to prove useful in biological labs as a substitute for evaporators. Unlike standard evaporators, the EcoStill, an enclosed system, fails to produce fumes, says Cheatley. And, he adds, the glass EcoStill is impervious to the chemicals that could damage standard stainless steel photochemical processors.

But sometimes glass just can't complete the task. As an example, "you can't squeeze glass," says Bel-Art's Nunziata, whose company's product line includes safety labeled squeeze bottles. Also, jugs and bottles for storage are usually made from plastic because they are easier to handle.

In recent years, plastics have already been developed with most of the properties for which glass is valued. For example, polymethylpentene is certainly a clear plastic with optical qualities nearly equivalent to glass. Polymethylpentene can also be autoclavable, which is utilized for beakers, graduated cylinders, funnels, flasks, and many other items traditionally made of glass. Another clear plastic resistant against high temperatures is polycarbonate. Bel-Art markets a polycarbonate vacuum desiccator, used to remove moisture coming from a sample. A plastic desiccator has several positive aspects across the traditional glass apparatus, says George McClure, an engineer and senior corporate v . p . of your company. Glass desiccators must be quite heavy to avoid implosion from atmospheric air pressure, a potentially dangerous accident. The polycarbonate might be taken down to an entire vacuum without danger of implosion, and won't crack or chip should it be dropped. The plastic desiccator is far less expensive than glass, McClure adds.

Plastic wasn't always intended to supplant glass, however. About 40 years ago, the initial product of Rochester, N.Y.-based Nalge Co. had been a plastic pipette jar. Nalge's founder, Emanuel Goldberg, had been a manufacturer's representative selling pipettes, and many of his customers complained that if they dropped their glass pipettes in to the stainless-steel storage jar, the ideas broke.

A chemist by training, Goldberg welded plastic bottoms to lengths of plastic pipe. "So, ironically, the very first plastic merchandise that Nalge made was created to stop glass pipettes from breaking," says Gordon Hamnett, national accounts manager for Nalge. "Subsequently, the corporation developed plenty of goods that were designed because glass products were breaking. We created a brand of beakers, graduated cylinders, and volumetric flasks, modeled greatly once the original glass benchware which had been available commercially." Today, about 25 percent of Nalge's plastic merchandise is disposable; the remainder are designed to be reusable.

The interest in Pipette from the life science market has exploded within the last decade, based on Hamnett. For uses in cell biology labs, some plastics have been created to be more inert than glass, preventing cells from adhering to the outer lining. Simultaneously, plastic surfaces is treatable to ensure that cells will stick and form a confluent layer more rapidly compared to they would on glass. "You are able to form of choose the options from the several types of plastic resins to fulfill different demands within the life science lab, where glass lacks the flexibility," says Hamnett.

And plastic technology is continuing to evolve, allowing manufacturers to produce products for specific needs that supply advantages over glass and also over other plastic. Nalge carries a collection of fluoropolymer (Teflon) beakers which can be used for handling hydrofluoric acid, which "basically eats glass," says Hamnett. The organization can also be tinkering with exposing an increased-density polyethylene resin to fluorine gas to generate a micro-thin layer, or "skin," of fluorine, producing a surface that includes a chemical resistance just like Teflon's, but is cheaper. Nalge even offers just introduced a disposable bottle made of the identical material as plastic soda pop bottles--polyethylene terephthalate (PET). "PET is actually a resin containing gas barrier properties that are essential in cell biology, where media should be held in a container that may minimize CO2 exchange," says Hamnett.

But even as plastic displaces glass, new lab procedures along with a growing conservation ethic are cutting into the usage of both materials. Automation and improved analytical instrumentation--often requiring tiny samples--have reduced the need for laboratory glassware, in accordance with LaGrotte. "Previously, a scientist or perhaps a technician would do several things manually, using different types of lab glassware," he says. "Now there are various instruments that you simply feed samples to, and they also do all of the analysis or mixing or whatever would have been carried out by hand."

While both glassware and Skeleton model now manufacture items, like small sample vials, specifically for automated use, Hamnett says that the reduction in the quantity of glassware useful for classic wet chemistry has become so great that the rise in automation-related items is not enough to balance it out. Although glassware and plasticware products are now available in reusable and disposable forms, Stanley Pine, professor of chemistry at California 36dexnpky University, La, advocates reusing even disposable items. "I'm attempting to teach everybody we don't reside in a disposable world anymore," says Pine. "A lot of this plastic things which was previously looked at as disposable probably ought to be cleaned and reused."

"Cheap" employed to mean "disposable," Pine says. While a reusable glass pipette cost $10, a pipette designed to be disposable--made of thinner glass, with calibrations that happen to be painted on instead of etched in--might sell for just $1. The maker would believe that it's cheaper to throw away the disposable items than to deal with them and wash them, he explains. "But many people in the academic labs are discovering most of the things which was created to become disposable is really excellent," Pine says. "It can be used, as an example, in a lot of our undergraduate classes. Though it doesn't work for 20 years, it may go on for five-years, and it's probably economically advantageous."

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