Aclar Fluoropolymers Films
A few not-generally-known words about ACLAR Fluoropolymer Films
There is an entire family of ACLAR Fluoropolymer Films and the different ACLAR "grades" or products, represent different chemistries. The ACLAR film found to be the most ideal for applications in microscopy and histology is ACLAR 33C and it has traditionally been used in 5 mil thickness. This is a polychlorotrifluoroethylene copolymer and this particular composition results in a film with very excellent optical properties, as well as good thermal and chemical stability. It also serves as an excellent moisture barrier. It is always recommended that the user take advantage of a wide range of other information that is known about ACLAR 33C. The high UV transparency of this particular grade of ACLAR makes it idea for use in the UV curing of resins in microscopy and histology.
However, the manufacturer of ACLAR films has discontinued the production of the 5 mil film and only offers the film in 2 and 7.8 mils. For a while, we believed that 2 mils is just not thick enough for applications in microscopy, and we started offering 7.8 mil thickness. But now we have found that some users actually show a preference for the 2 mil thick product. Apparently, the more pliable nature of the thinner product makes it easier to get a good barrier seal against oxygen.
Conclusion: If you have been using the 5 mil ACLAR product, and if you were to use the 7.8 mil product, you would see virtually no difference, except for the slightly higher stiffness of the thicker film. The optical properties and UV transparency is essentially the same. But if you were to try the thinner product, in addition to finding it easier to seal, you will be happily surprised to find out that the thinner version of the product is also much less expensive!