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Commonly used laboratory consumables, such as pipette tips, pipettes, and PCR plates, are typically made of polypropylene (PP). Cell culture plates/bottles, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) plates, or chemiluminescence plates are often made of polystyrene (PS). When it comes to centrifuge tubes, there are various plastic materials available, such as polypropylene (PP), polycarbonate (PC), and polyethylene (PE). Each material has its own characteristics.
Polypropylene (PP): Semi-transparent with good chemical and temperature stability. However, it becomes brittle at low temperatures, so it should not be used for centrifugation below 4°C.
Polycarbonate (PC): Offers good transparency and high hardness, suitable for autoclaving at high temperatures. However, it is not resistant to strong acids, strong bases, and certain organic solvents like alcohol. Primarily used for ultra-high-speed centrifugation above 50,000 RPM.
Polyethylene (PE): Opaque and stable, does not react with acetone, acetic acid, hydrochloric acid, etc. Tends to soften at high temperatures.
Polyamide (PA): A polymer of PP and PE, semi-transparent, chemically stable but not heat-resistant.
Polystyrene (PS): Transparent, rigid, stable in most aqueous solutions but susceptible to corrosion by various organic substances. Commonly used for low-speed centrifugation and often disposable.
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PF): Semi-transparent, suitable for low-temperature applications. Can be used in experimental environments ranging from -100°C to -140°C.
Cellulose Acetate Butyrate (CAB): Transparent, suitable for relatively dilute acids, bases, salts, as well as gradient determinations of alcohol and sucrose.
Therefore, it is crucial to choose the appropriate material for laboratory consumables based on different experimental requirements. Failure to do so may result in leakage, breakage, and the loss of valuable samples, sometimes causing damage to expensive laboratory equipment.