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What type of TLC backing to choose?

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TLC plates are available with different backings (also called supports): rigid (glass-backed) or flexible sheets (aluminum & plastic-backed).

Glass-backed plates are the most frequently used due to the ease of handling, transparency (spot can be seen on both sides) as well as the chemical resistance and inertness of the support. However, glass plates also present certain disadvantages like fragility and higher weight over flexible backings.
On the other hand, aluminum and plastic backings also offer both pros and cons as presented in the table below.

PropertiesGlassAluminumPlastic
Advantages- Rigid
- High chemical resistance
- High heating stability and charring resistance
- Transparent
- Thin
- Low weight and consequent shipping costs
- High seating stability
- Low fragility
- Possible to cut with scissors
- Can be stored in notebook
- Thin
- Low fragility
- Possible to cut with scissors
- High chemical resistance
- Can be stored in notebook
Disadvantages- Thick
- High fragility
- Impossible to cut with scissors
- Cannot be stored in lab notebook
- High weight and consequent shipping costs
- Large shelf space
- Low chemical resistance
- Opaque
- Medium weight
- Opaque
- Heating stability up tp 175°C
- Possible cracking of matrix due to high flexibility
Approximate Thickness2.0 - 2.5 mm1.5 - 2.0 mm1.5 - 2.0 mm
Total WeightHighLowMedium
Heating StabilityHighHighBelow 175°C
FragilityHighLowLow
Cutting with ScissorsImpossibleEasilyPossible
Chemical Resistance Against
Mineral AcidsHighLowHigh
Bases (ammoniac)HighLowHigh