PC

Polycarbonate* (PC) is window-clear, amazingly strong, and rigid. It is autoclavable, non-toxic, and the toughest of all thermoplastics. PC is a special type of polyester in which dihydric phenols are joined through carbonate linkages. These linkages are subject to chemical reaction with bases and concentrated acids, hydrolytic attack at elevated temperatures (e.g. during autoclaving), and make PC soluble in various organic solvents. For many applications, the transparency and unusual strength of PC offset these limitations. Polycarbonate contains Bisphenol A (BPA) by the very nature of its monomer building block. Traces of BPA are present in all polycarbonate materials.

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Polycarbonate is used to make Nalgene desiccators, bottles, centrifugeware, vacuum chambers, and many other items where clarity, strength, and a wide application temperature range are key requirements. Polycarbonate bottles are often used for containing media and other pH-neutral to mildly acidic aqueous solutions.

*Meets the requirements of the Food Additives Amendment of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Popular Products Made from Polycarbonate (PC)


Physical properties

Temperature

Physics

Permeability

Sterilization[4]

Regulatory

HDT[1]: 142℃

Max Use[13]: 130℃

Brittleness[12]:  -135℃

UV light: fair resistance

Rigid

Transparency: window clear

Microwave[2]: marginal[3]

Specific gravity: 1.2

cc.-mil/ 100in2-24hor.-atm
N2: 50.00
O2:300.00
CO2: 1075.00

cc.-mm/ m2-24 hr.-Bar
N2: 19.43
O2: 116.57
CO2: 417.69

Autoclave: yes[5]

EtO: yes

Dry heat: no

Radiation: yes

Disinfectants: some

Non-cytotoxic[6]: yes

Suitable for food & bev use[7]: yes

Regulation Part 21 CFR: 177.1580


Chemical Compatibility

The following table contains general use exposure ratings at 20oC. The ability of plastic materials to resist chemical attack and damage is dependent also on temperature, length of exposure to the chemical, and added stresses such as centrifugation. For more detailed chemical resistance ratings for Nalgene products and materials, please consult the resources referenced at the bottom of this page.

Class General rating
Acids, dilute or weak E
Acids*, strong and concentrated  N
Alcohols, aliphatic G
Aldehydes F
Bases/alkali N
Esters N
Hydrocarbons, aliphatic G
Hydrocarbons, aromatic N
Hydrocarbons, halogenated N
Ketones, aromatic N
Oxidizing agents, strong F

*Except for oxidizing acids; for oxidizing acids, see "Oxidizing agents, strong."

 E   30 days of constant exposure causes no damage. Plastic may even tolerate for years.
   Little or no damage after 30 days of constant exposure to the reagent.
   Some effect after 7 days of constant exposure to the reagent. Depending on the plastic, the effect may be crazing, cracking, loss of strength, or discoloration.
 N   Not recommended for continuous use. Immediate damage may occur including severe crazing, cracking, loss of strength, discoloration, deformation, dissolution, or permeation loss.

Nalgene products made from Polycarbonate (PC)


Application tips for your polycarbonate products

Autoclaving
Polycarbonate is autoclavable, but autoclaving will cause the material to lose strength. Repeated autoclaving will shorten the life of reusable polycarbonate products such as bottles and centrifugeware. Items to which a vacuum will be applied, such as Nalgene vacuum chambers and vacuum desiccators must never be autoclaved as weakening of the material may result in implosion when a vacuum is applied.

Cleaning
It’s critically important to wash polycarbonate only in pH-neutral cleaning solutions. Basic pH solutions will cause damage to the clear surface, causing clouding and pitting of the plastic. Nalgene L900 detergent is the recommended cleaning solution for washing polycarbonate labware to extend product life.

Plastic aging
Inspect polycarbonate regularly and before each use for signs of aging including permanent discoloration (yellow, brown, orange, or pink), crazing (spider web cracks), stress cracking (vertical cracks), or permanent clouding or pitting. Replace polycarbonate pieces when you see signs of aging occur to prevent failure during use. 


Footnotes:
[1]. Heat Deflection Temperature is the temperature at which an injection molded bar deflects 0.1” when placed under 66 psig (ASTM D648) of pressure. Materials may be used above Heat Deflection Temperatures in non-stress applications; see Max. Use Temp.
[2]. Ratings based on 5-minute tests using 600 watts of power on exposed, empty labware. CAUTION: Do not exceed Max. Use Temp., or expose labware to chemicals which heating will cause to attack the plastic or be rapidly absorbed.
[3]. The plastic will absorb and retain significant amounts of heat resulting in an unexpectedly hot surface.
[4]. STERILIZATION: Autoclaving (121°C, 15 psig for 20 minutes)—Clean and rinse items with distilled water before autoclaving. (Always completely disengage thread before autoclaving.) Certain chemicals which have no appreciable effect on resins at room temperature may cause deterioration at autoclaving temperatures unless removed with distilled water beforehand.
     EtO Gas—Ethylene Oxide: 100% EtO, EtO:Nitrogen mixture, EtO:HCFC mixture
     Dry Heat—exposure to 160°C for 120 minutes without stress/load on the polymer parts
     Disinfectants—Benzalkonium chloride, formalin/formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, ethanol, etc.
     Radiation—gamma or beta irradiation at 25 kGy (2.5 MRad) with unstabilized plastic
[5]. Sterilizing reduces mechanical strength. Do not use PC vessels for vacuum applications if they have been autoclaved. Refer to Use and Care Guidelines for NALGENE Labware for detailed information on sterilizing.
[6]. “Yes” indicates the resin has been determined to be non-cytotoxic, based on USP and ASTM biocompatibility testing standards utilizing an MEM elution technique with WI38 human diploid lung cell line.
[7]. “Yes” indicates the resin has been determined to be non-cytotoxic, based on USP and ASTM biocompatibility testing standards utilizing an MEM elution technique with WI38 human diploid lung cell line.
[12]. The brittleness temperature is the temperature at which an item made from the resin may break or cracked if dropped. This is not the lowest use temperature if care is exercised in use and handling.
[13]. Max. Use Temp. °C: this is related to the maximum continuous use temperature, ductile/brittle temperature, and glass transition temperature and represents the highest temperature at which the polymer can be exposed for the matter of minutes to 2 hours where there is little or no loss of strength.

Sterilizing reduces mechanical strength. Do not use PC vessels for vacuum applications if they have been autoclaved. Refer to Use and Care Guidelines for NALGENE Labware for detailed information on sterilizing.

 

Technical support

For assistance choosing products appropriate for your application, please speak with a Nalgene Technical Support Representative team by phone at +1-585-586-8800 or (1-800-625-4327 US toll free), or email your request to technicalsupport@thermofisher.com.

In Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, please contact technical support by phone at +800-1234-9696 (toll free) or +49-6184-90-6321, or email your request to techsupport.labproducts.eu@thermofisher.com.

Regulatory support: for regulatory documentation of product or material claims, please contact Nalgene Regulatory Support at RocRegSupport@thermofisher.com.

Resources

For chemical compatibility ratings by chemical, temperature, and length of exposure, use the  Nalgene General Labware Chemical Compatibility Guide 

For centrifugeware chemical compatibility ratings, please use ONLY the Centrifuge Ware Chemical Resistance
Table 

Additional resources
  • Break the Glass Habit Brochure
  • Bottle and Carboy Selection Guide
  • Plastic Properties Reference Magnet
  • Plastic Labware Chemical Resistance Wall Poster

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