Find more detailed product information and resources for Thermo Scientific™, Fisher Chemical™, Fisher BioReagents™, Acros Organics™, Alfa Aesar™ and Maybridge™ products.


New Fisher Scientific Chemical Essentials Handbook

In this handbook, you’ll find a selection of essential chemicals for analysis, synthesis, inorganic, and life sciences applications. Plus, read key information on safe storage, handling, and packaging to support your chemistry.

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Application Notes



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General Information

Q: Will the new poly bottle packaging – constructed of a high-density polyethylene instead of glass – affect application results?

A: A one-year stability study conducted in 2011 for the storage of trace metal acids, specifically nitric acid (A509) and hydrochloric acid (A508), in polyethylene vs. glass bottles yielded the following results:

  • Overall, the trace impurity values of the metal and non-metal analytes for the product in the polyethylene packaging were similar to the product in glass after one year of storage. Also, the concentrations of the product in polyethylene packaging were far below the maximum limits in the specifications.
  • The trace impurity concentrations for some metals measured in the polyethylene packaging were not only much lower than the concentrations measured in the glass bottle for both the nitric acid and hydrochloric acid, but also were far below the maximum specification limits. In the specification tables datasheet (PDF, 188KB), these data rows are highlighted in yellow.
  • Because the trace impurity concentrations for the metal and non-metal analytes in the polyethylene bottles were below the specification limits, this data suggests that after one year of storage there was no evidence of non-hydrocarbon plasticizers or plastic byproducts leaching from the polyethylene bottles
  • In addition, Thermo Fisher Scientific has sold the following TraceMetalTM Acids products for many years in high-density polyethylene bottles:
Cat. No.Product DescriptionPackage Size
A508-4Hydrochloric Acid, TraceMetal Grade4L
A513-500Hydrofluoric Acid, TraceMetal Grade500mL
A513-4Hydrofluoric Acid, TraceMetal Grade4L
A507-4 Acetic Acid, TraceMetal Grade4L
A512-4Ammonium Hydroxide, TraceMetal Grade4L

Download the specification tables datasheet (PDF, 188KB).


Q: How can I view Safety Datasheets through your website?

A: SDS for chemicals and reagents manufactured by Fisher Chemical can be easily viewed and printed from our website.

Find out detailed SDS instructions.

Q: How can I receive a Certificate of Analysis?

A: You can download a Certificate of Analysis from this site.

Find out detailed Certificate of Analysis instructions.

If a Certificate of Analysis is not available online, please contact Fisher Chemical Technical Support at 1-800-227-6701.

Q: Why don't all chemicals have an "outdate" to indicate shelf life?

A: Some of the chemicals from Fisher Chemical may not have an outdate simply because those materials do not decompose under normal storage conditions. They should have an indefinite shelf life if they are not contaminated or adulterated. If the product you purchase from Fisher Chemical has a known instability, an outdate will be noted on the label. Unless otherwise specified, the outdate will be the last day of the month indicated.  It is good chemical practice, however, not to keep chemicals beyond five years. Over extended periods of time, conditions beyond your direct control could cause degradation of even stable compounds. Generally, the first two digits of the lot number will indicate the year of manufacture.

Q: At which temperature should I store my chemicals?

A: Storage conditions for all Fisher Chemical products are room temperature unless otherwise stated on the label.

Q: Are Fisher Chemical pH Buffers traceable to NIST?

A: Yes, our buffer solutions—manufactured by Fisher Chemical—are directly traceable to NIST. For traceability of specific product lots to specific standard lots, obtain a Certificate of Analysis.

Chemical Grades

Q: Which purity grades are Fisher Chemical and Fisher BioReagents products manufactured to meet?

A: Fisher Chemical and Fisher BioReagents products are available in a wide range of purity grades to meet all applications. Please refer to the purity charts below.

View the Fisher Chemical Purity Grade Chart (PDF, 1.44MB)
View the Fisher BioReagents Purity Grade Chart (PDF, 1.MB)


Q: Is there a difference between alcohol and ethanol?

A: The term "alcohol" can mean pure ethanol, denatured ethanol (alcohol) or other alcohols that are not ethanol (ethyl alcohol). The term "alcohol" can refer to pure alcohol -- undenatured ethanol and suitable for consumption. 

The term "alcohol" can also refer to pure alcohol at any level of concentration (proof). Therefore, "pure alcohol" is a correct term for 100% ethanol (200 proof), 95% ethanol (190 proof) and any concentration of ethanol (vodka is 40% ethanol). The term "alcohol" can refer to denatured alcohol, ethanol which is unsuitable for consumption due to the addition of toxic solvents to the pure alcohol. It can therefore refer to any denatured ethanol product, regardless of the proof of ethanol and the concentration of ethanol in the denatured product. SDA-39C is referred to as Specially denatured "alcohol", even though it contains 1% diethyl phthalate as a denaturant and even though the ethanol content of this mixture can be 190 proof or 200 proof. There are several hundred standard formulas of denatured alcohol (ethanol), all of which can be called "alcohol". The term "alcohol" can refer to other solvents which are non ethanol-based but which are chemically classified as alcohols: Isopropyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, butyl alcohol, and propyl alcohol are all "alcohol" but none are ethanol (ethyl alcohol). Since Fisher distributes a wide range of alcohol products, care must be taken when using the term alcohol, to communicate what product or class of products is being requested.


Q: What is Specially Denatured Alcohol?

A: Specially denatured alcohol is pure ethanol rendered unfit for drinking by adding solvents such as methanol, ethyl acetate, or IPA in quantities specified by the Federal Government. The addition of these solvents is what "denatures" the pure alcohol, making it unfit for consumption. "Denatured" does not imply an altered ethanol molecule (as when a protein is denatured by heat or a chemical agent), but indicates that the ethanol is "spoiled" or "poisoned".

Certain SDAs have additives as well as denaturants. For example, SDA-38B intended for use as a mouthwash has 1percent%, all of which are determined and regulated by the BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms).

One of the key differences between SDAs and other denatured ethanol products (General Use Formulas) is the level of added denaturants. SDAs are typically denatured at a level between 1 and 10 percent, and the BATF considers these products capable of being undenatured. Since there is no Federal Excise Tax collected on SDAs, the BATF wants to be sure of the intended, legal application. This is the primary reason why a permit is required for use, storage or resale of SDAs.

Specially Denatured Alcohols are used in a wide variety of common products including personal care products, flavorings, fragrances and industrial-grade products. They are also used in laboratories, hospitals and research facilities. While SDAs are not taxed, customers must obtain proper permits from the BATF in order to use more than five gallons of denatured product in a one-year period. Products, which do not require a BATF permit are referred to as "General Use Formulas". Fisher has the capability of manufacturing all SDAs, but chooses not to produce certain formulas due to the carcinogenic nature of certain denaturants the extreme danger hazardous denaturants may pose.


Q: Can pure ethanol be purchased without a BATF permit?

A: Yes, but a federal excise tax must be paid. Current federal tax is $13.50 per "proof gallon," which is $27.00 per gallon for 200-proof ethanol. Fisher includes the federal excise tax in your invoice.

Q: Can Specially Denatured Alcohol be bought without a BATF permit?

A: Yes, but purchases are limited to up to five gallons of SDA product in one year. A BATF permit is required to purchase more than five gallons in one year.

Q: I need custom packaging. Can you do this?

A: Yes. Specialized Chemical Services can supply chemicals in a wide variety of innovative packaging options designed for safety, environmental protection, convenient handling and storage and preservation of product integrity, while complying with all relevant regulations. Custom packaging is also available for chemicals supplied by you.

Start customizing your solutions. Request a custom quote.

Q: I need chemicals that comply with international testing requirements. Can Fisher Scientific supply these items to me?

A: Yes. Specialized Chemical Services includes extensive in-house laboratory, QC capabilities and utilization of accredited external partners, allowing us to respond quickly to specific quality control testing at your request.

Start customizing your solutions. Request a custom quote.