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Temperature and Permeability Chart

This temperature and permeability reference chart is designed for bottles and containers under various conditions. Get information on brittleness, autoclavability and sterilization, maximum temperate usage, etc on eight common plastics (HDPE and LDPE polyethylene, polypropylene, Teflon® type resins FEP, PFA and PTFE, polyester PETG and polycarbonate.)

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Resin Max Temp Use (C) HDT1 Temp (C) Brittleness Temp (C)13 Microwav -ability Auto-claving4 Sterilization4 Permeability (cc.-mil/100in224 hr. -atm)
Gas Dry Heat Radiation N2 O2 CO2
LDPE 80 45 -100 Yes No Yes No Yes 180 500 2700
HDPE 120 65 -100 No No Yes No Yes 42 185 580
PP 135 107 0 Yes Yes Yes No No 48 240 800
FEP 205 70 -270 Marginal3 Yes Yes Yes No 320 750 2200
PFA 260 166 -270 Yes Yes Yes Yes No 291 881 2260
PTFE/ TFE 260 200 -100 Yes Yes Yes Yes No - 307.5 -
PETG 70 70 -40 Marginal3 No Yes No Yes 10 25 125
PC 135 138 -135 Marginal3 Yes5 Yes No Yes 50 300 1075


Resin Specific Gravity Flex -ibility Permeability (cc.-mil/100in2-24 hr. -Bar) Water Vapor Transmission Rate (g-mm /m2-24 hr.-Bar at 38 C° 90% RH)15 Suitability for Food and Bev. Use7 Melting Point Range (C) Glass Transition Temp Range (C)
N2 O2 CO2
LDPE .92 Excellent 180 500 2700 15.5-23.3 Yes9 85-125 -25
HDPE .95 Rigid 42 185 580 4.6-6.2 Yes9 125-138 -25
PP .9 Rigid 18.65 93.25 310.84 3.9 Yes 160-176 -20 to -5
FEP 2.15 Excellent 124.34 291.41 854.82 6.20 Yes 275 n/a
PFA 2.15 Excellent 118.07 342.31 878.13 2.00 Yes 302-310 n/a
PTFE/ TFE 2.2 Rigid - 117.48 - 4.0 Yes 320-330 120-130
PETG 1.27 Moderate 3.89 9.71 48.57 18.13 Yes10 265 81
PC 1.2 Rigid 19.43 116.57 417.69 115 Yes n/a 154
  1. Heat Deflection Temperature is the temperature at which a bar deflects 0.01” at 66 psig (ASTM D648). Materials may be used above Heat Deflection temperatures in non-stress applications; see Max Use Temperature.
  2. Ratings based on 5-minutes tests using 600 watts of power on exposed empty labware. CAUTION: Do not exceed max temperature or expose labware to chemicals which heating cause to attack the plastic or be rapidly absorbed.
  3. Plastic will absorb heat.
  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.
    • Gas - Ethylene Oxide formaldehyde hydrogen peroxide.
    • Dry Heat - 160 C° 120 minutes.
    • Disinfectants - Benzalkonium Chloride formalin/formaldehyde ethanol etc.
    • Radiation - Gamma 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” indicated resin has been determined to be non-cytotoxic based on USP and ASTM biocompatibility testing standards utilizing an MEM elution technique on a WI38 human diploid lung cell line.
  7. Resins meet requirements for CFR21 section of Food Additives Amendment of the Food and Drug Act. End users are responsible for validation of compliance for specific containers used in conjunction with their particular packaging applications.
  8. Acceptable for aqueous foods only at temperatures up to 121 C° / 250 F°. Not sanctioned for use with alcoholic or fatty foods at any temperature.
  9. Acceptable for Non-acid aqueous products; may container salt sugar or both (pH above 5.0) Dairy Products and modifications; oil-in-water emulsions high or low fat Moist bakery products with surface containing no free fat or oil and Dry solids with the surfaces containing no free fat or oil (no end-test required and under all conditions as described in Table 2 of the FDA Regulation 177.1520 except condition A - high temperature sterilization (e.g. over 100 C° / 212 F°).
  10. Acceptable for Alcoholic foods containing not more than 15% by volume alcohol; fill and storage temperatures not to exceed 49 C° / 120 F° and Non-alcoholic foods of hot fill to not exceed 82 C° (180 F) and 49 C° (120 F°) in storage. Not suitable for carbonated beverages or beer or packaging food requiring thermal processing.
  11. Straight Side Jars beakers and graduated cylinders only.
  12. Acceptable for aqueous oil dairy acidic and alcoholic foods up to 71 C° / 160 F°.
  13. The brittleness temperature is the temperature at which an item made from the resin may break or crack if dropped. This is not the lowest use temperature if care is exercised in use and handling.
  14. The tubing will become opaque from absorbed water see the current Nalgene labware catalog for details.
  15. WVTR= Water Vapor Transmission Rate in g-mm/m2. - 24 hr - 1 BAR at 37 C° and 90% Relative Humidity.