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UK Manufactured Glass Injection Vials – A Guide

The characteristics of an injection vial can vary from one manufacturer to the next, which is why it’s important to consider the suitability of each individual type. Ensure you choose the appropriate container with this quick guide to glass injection vials.

Why choose UK glass injection vials?

The finest glass injection vials are manufactured with quality and resilience in mind. Precision made by established and respected manufacturers, genuine glass vials guarantee durability and are typically USP enforced (United States Pharmacopoeia) to ensure they meet client requirements.


Amber Borosilicate Type 1 Glass Injection Vial
Amber Borosilicate Type 1 Glass Injection Vial

Glass vial types are categorised by their USP type and are all designed to comply with product quality standards. The most common glass type is the USP Type 1 Borosilicate glass. Excellent quality and highly sought-after – these are used to manufacture most of the glass apparatus in labs and other similar environments.

These borosilicate injection vials are made with the least reactive glass type, making them highly suitable for lyophilisation/freeze-drying and parentarel applications.

The benefits

As borosilicate vials are made with the least reactive material, they are very pH stable. In other words, borosilicate glass can withstand many corrosive substances without harming the glass container.

They can also remain stable at a wide range of temperatures and vial contents can be freeze-dried without causing damage to the vials. Neither will the glass in any way harm or react with the contents. Borosilicate vials can also be autoclaved for sterilisation purposes.

Who uses them?

Due to their durability and various benefits, glass injection vials have uses in many different faculties such as laboratories and pharmaceutical companies, veterinary practices, hospitals, schools, research centres and much more.


The compatibility with other products is entirely dependent on the vial type. The USP type 1 Borosilicate glass vials are compatible with all corresponding crimp caps and seals. Silicone vial stoppers are also suitable for type 1 injection vials to ensure protection when freeze-drying and injecting highly reactive substances.

Clear Borosilicate Type 1 Glass Injection Vial
Clear Borosilicate Type 1 Glass Injection Vial

Glass injection vials are not limited to use in a specific industry. As aforementioned, they can be used in many different faculties. All USP types of glass injection vials – from Borosilicate, Soda-Lime and De-alkalized Soda-Lime glass vials can be used to contain products for many different purposes.

Less stable injection vials, for example, may store liquids and tablets for general healthcare purposes, while glass vials that are able to contain more reactive substances have their uses in the Bioscience and Pharmaceutical industry.

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Types of Glass Used for Glass Vials

Types of Glass Used for Glass Vials

The types of glass used in containers can be determined by USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) criteria but, on it’s own, is generally not enough to choose the appropriate vial.  This means that the end user will have to look at the choices and then determine the characteristics of each vial on offer as these can vary between manufacturers.  However, the UPS criteria is a pretty good place to start.

USP Type I Borosilicate Glass

This is the least reactive type of glass available for containers.  All lab glass apparatus is generally Type I borosilicate glass.

In most cases Type I glass is used to package products which are alkaline or will become alkaline over a period of time. Care must be taken in selecting containers for applications where the pH is very low or very high, as even Type I glass can be subject to a reaction under certain conditions. Although Type I has the highest pH stability of any glass, some substances could still cause the glass to become unstable and contaminate the contents.

Many manufacturers now offer vials which have added surface treatments in order to improve the stability of the glass even further.

USP Type II De-alkalized Soda-Lime Glass

This type of glass has higher levels of sodium hydroxide and calcium oxide than type I.  Although it is still quite stable and safe to use with products that remain below pH7, it is not as stable as type I.

USP Type III Soda-Lime Glass

This type of glass could be used for storing dry powder and also liquids which are insensitive to alkali. Type III glass should not be used for products that are to be autoclaved, but is suitable for dry heat sterilization.

USP Type NP soda-lime glass is a general purpose glass and is used for non-parenteral products (to be taken orally or by inhalation) as the vial will not typically  be in contact with chemicals or heat. These vials are often used for storing medicines in tablet form.

What else should you consider when choosing a container?

  1. If light sensitivity of the product is an issue, you may wish to consider using an amber glass container.
  2. If a product is sensitive to certain chemicals within the glass, you could experience a leakage of these substances into the liquid product and cause contamination.
  3. The filling and processing stages that the container will have to withstand are important. If you require the container to have minimal thermal expansion, there are a few options open to you. A typical tubular container with thinner and more uniform walls will withstand thermal shock better than a moulded glass container within the same expansion range. The physical design of the container can also be important with regards to the amount of thermal and mechanical shock resistance it shows. You will often be required to make a compromise between resistance to mechanical shock and thermal shock in order to decide on the correct container to use.
  4. The interaction of glass and liquid solutions is incredibly complex. You will need to consider the risk of corrosion and reaction of the glass when used with certain products.

Please use this information purely as a guide to choosing the appropriate container for your application as each requirement will need evaluating separately.

If you would like advice or assistance in choosing the correct glass vial for your application, please contact us.

Stuart Marshall
Sales Director
Laboratory Precision Ltd. ©