What are the Most Common Grades of Chemicals and Reagents?
When working with chemicals and reagents, the purity of the chemical or reagent can significantly impact the intended reactions. So, laboratories and chemical processing facilities rely on the advertised grade of chemicals to ensure it meets all purity requirements. Some grades are regulated by third parties to give additional quality assurance to buyers.
Seven of the Most Frequently Used Grades of Chemicals and Reagents
Chemicals and reagents with the ACS grade meet or exceed the standards for purity created by the American Chemical Society. With the high standards set by the ACS, this grade of chemicals and reagents work well for food, drug, and medicinal uses. Any use that requires strict quality control standards of purities greater than 95% can benefit from ACS grade chemicals and reagents.
Reagent grade chemicals and reagents are suitable for use in many laboratory and industrial applications where a high degree of purity is required. Although generally more expensive than other grades, reagent grade chemicals and reagents offer the same purities as the ACS grade. You can find reagent grade chemicals in the Alchemie Labs online store.
USP grade chemicals and reagents meet the standards set by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) for purity, strength, and quality. These standards are based on the needs of the pharmaceutical industry, but they are also widely used in other fields, such as the food and cosmetic industries. For most chemicals, the USP grade requires the same standards as the ACS grade. Typically, USP grade chemicals and reagents find use in the production of pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, and other products that are intended for human consumption.
NF grade chemicals and reagents meet the standards set by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and National Formulary (NF). Both the USP and the NF set the standard for the NF grade within the public book of pharmacopeial standards. The listings within this book show the purity requirements for different chemicals and reagents in order to meet the NF grade. It also provides guidelines for medical devices and dietary supplements.
Laboratory grade chemicals and reagents generally offer high enough purities for experimental or educational purposes. They are usually of a higher purity than technical grade chemicals, which are intended for industrial use, but they are not as pure as reagent or USP grade chemicals.
The purity of laboratory grade chemicals and reagents can vary widely depending on the supplier and the specific substance in question. In general, these materials are at least 90% pure, but some may be as pure as 99% or more. However, it is important to note that the term “laboratory grade” is not a formally defined term and does not have a specific set of purity requirements that must be met.
The term “purified grade” is not a formally defined term and does not have a specific set of purity requirements that must be met. Therefore, the purity of purified grade chemicals and reagents can vary widely depending on the supplier and the specific substance in question.
Purified grade chemicals and reagents are commonly used in laboratory settings because they are pure enough for many experimental purposes. Laboratory settings also have the means to test the purity of any received chemicals and reagents. This makes it easier to use chemicals and reagents without a formally defined grade.
Technical grade chemicals and reagents are commonly used in industrial and commercial applications, rather than in research or laboratory settings. They are intended for use as raw materials in the production of other products, rather than for use as research or reference materials.
Similar to laboratory grade and purified grade chemicals and reagents, the purity of technical grade chemicals and reagents widely varies based on the supplier and specific substance. This makes technical grade chemicals and reagents a less expensive alternative to reagent or USP grade materials. However, production facilities need to confirm the purity of the chemical or reagent before using it to avoid impurities or contaminants in the material that may affect the performance or safety of the final product.
Different grades of chemicals offer utility for distinct purposes. Generally, processes that require strict purity standard need ACS grade, USP grade, or NF grade chemicals as these grades use formally defined standards suppliers must meet. Reagent grade chemicals also offer high purities. Laboratory, purified, and technical-grade chemicals and reagents do not have formally defined standards, so the purities can significantly vary between suppliers. This means the purchaser needs to confirm the purity before using it in industry, experimental, or educational settings.