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13Jul/170

Pipette Tip – When Acquiring Lab And University Education Provisions, Browse This Particular Dealer To Get The Best Special Deals.

Beakers and bottles, dispensers and droppers, pipettes and Centrifuge. Labware like this was previously available in a single material--glass. A glass beaker may last indefinitely, as long as it isn't dropped or heated too fast or filled with certain highly reactive chemicals.

But what if a chemist must boil some chemical brew? Enter Pyrex, a borosilicate glass which can be taken from hot to cold extremes without breaking.

And have you considered the researcher who needs hundreds of small vials, and doesn't wish to take the time or money to wash them between uses? Enter plastic--a material both cheap and disposable.

And after that there's the scientist who requires a beaker manufactured from something as inert as you can. Behold Teflon, a polymer that reacts with only a few substances.

These are just a few of the rapidly expanding choices offered in glassware and plasticware for scientific labs. Glass is actually a few millennia over the age of plastic, but both materials have distinct advantages. And as advances in glass and plastic technology continue, neither material seems in danger of becoming obsolete in the future.

The oldest known glass objects are beads from Egypt that have been made around 2600 B.C. While no 4,000-year-old beakers are saved to record, today's items of laboratory glassware, with proper care, could become museum pieces--or possibly even still be in use--during 2600 A.D.

In recent history, new plastics have pushed their way into the formerly glass-dominated domain of labware. Additionally, automation has reduced the role of glassware in many labs. However the glass industry has responded to advertise changes and is not prepared to be pushed out of the lab for good.

Reusable glassware hasn't changed much over time, based on Andrew LaGrotte, group marketing manager at Schott America Glass & Scientific Products Inc. of Yonkers, N.Y. "Whoever invented the fundamental shapes had some foresight, because these shapes will still be used today," he says. Scientists generally choose their labware according to specific applications and personal preference. "The very basic vessel employed in the laboratory today, the beaker, can be purchased in a variety of materials," says John Babashak of Wheaton Scientific, operating out of Millville, N.J. Chemists can pick beakers made from a borosilicate glass like Pyrex, plastic, and even platinum, according to the level of heat and chemical resistance needed. Even beakers manufactured from paper are available, for paint chemists.

But overall, scientists' necessity for Pipette tip continues to be reduced with the development of unbreakable or single- use disposable plastic items, says Douglas Nicoll, vice president for technical services at Bellco Glass Inc. of Vineland, N.J. "This is also true with commodity [standard] stuff like tubes, beakers, Erlenmeyer flasks, and pipettes."

An evident downside of glass when compared to plastic is its tendency to destroy. "Folks are careful during use to never break glass, as this might expose them to a hazardous situation, such as toxic agents, carcinogens, radioactive or biological hazards," says Nicoll. This care is not going to necessarily extend to other 36dexnpky of labwork, however. "By and far, the glass washing and preparation areas break by far the most glass," he notes.

Although it isn't a perfect answer to the trouble of breakage, a lot of the smaller specialty companies offer glass repair. An expensive piece of Skeleton model --an automated buret, for example--may be repaired for about half the price of a completely new one, says Bob Cheatley, president of Cal-Glass for Research Inc., a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based company that does repairs as an element of its specialty glass business. "[Repaired items] don't look pretty much as good, but they're as functional as once they were new."

Despite the possibility of breakage, glass has several advantages over plastic. Solvents, for example, can dissolve some plastics, explains Nicoll. Some plastics are gas-permeable, so materials that may oxidize or experience a pH change are often held in glass containers. In addition, glass is a lot more easily sterilized than most plastics, says Frank Nunziata, sales manager for Pequannock, N.J.'s Bel-Art Products; so where there's a sterility requirement, glass is used most often.

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