Lab bottles commonly have a variety of components, such as bodies, caps and closures, seals, straws, and droppers that can be made of various materials.
- Borosilicate glass has high chemical resistance, resists thermal expansion and shock, is heat-resistant, and is commonly selected for many pharmaceutical applications. It is the most common glass lab bottle type.
- Fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) has chemical resistance and a maximum temperature of 400 degrees F (204 degrees C).
- Glass is an inert brittle solid, heat-resistant, and typically transparent. It does not allow transmission of gases or vapors, and has solution-compatibility. Lab bottles come in a variety of glass types, such as borosilicate and soda-lime. Colored or tinted glass, such as amber, cobalt blue, or red, has ultraviolet (UV) resistance.
- High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a thermoplastic resistant to low temperatures and impact, and does not absorb moisture. It is more transparent than low-density polyethylene (LDPE). It is used in many pharmaceutical, water-based chemicals, high speed-filling, and some food product applications.
- Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is a thermoplastic that is lightweight, flexible, durable, and impact resistant. LDPE lab bottles are squeezable, and retract back to their original shape. It is more opaque, have less chemical or solvent resistance, and more resistant to stress cracking than high-density polyethylene (HDPE). LDPE bottles are commonly used in dropper and wash bottle applications.
- Plastic refers to a wide variety of available materials, with a range of available chemical and physical properties. There are two types of plastics: thermoplastics and thermosetting polymers. Thermoplastics can be heated and molded many times, while thermosetting polymers melt and take shape only once. An example of a thermoplastic is Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). A thermosetting polymer, such as a polyimide, is generally stronger than a thermoplastic, and is more suitable to high-temperature applications.
- Polycarbonate is a thermoplastic that resists grease, oil, detergent, and most inorganic acids, and has a very high impact resistance over a wide temperature range. Polycarbonate is commonly transparent.
- Polypropylene (PP) is a thermoplastic material that resists many solvents, can be sterilized and is commonly autoclavable. It can have varying transparency, such as a clear or opaque body. Polypropylene is lightweight and strong, but may become brittle with low temperature ranges. PP commonly has more clarity than HDPE, and is more high temperature-resistant than high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE). It can be used for hot fill applications beyond HDPE. It can hold its shape for thermal performance with some temperature fluctuations.
- Polystyrene (PS) is a durable hard thermoplastic with limited flexibility that can be cast into molds. It comes in varying transparencies, and typically has glass-like clarity. Polystyrene is able to withstand fill temperatures up to 180 degrees F.
- Polysulfone (PSO) is a clear, amorphous thermoplastic that is stable, heat resistant, and self-extinguishing. It is highly resistant to mineral acids, bases, and salt solutions.
- Polyvinylchloride (PVC) is an amorphous thermoplastic material that is highly resistant to chemicals, and has high mechanical strength. It is flexible, and has high dimensional stability.
- Soda-lime glass has high chemical resistance, resists thermal expansion and shock, is heat-resistant, and is commonly selected to package some dry powders.
- Stainless steel is rigid, shock-resistant, and can withstand temperature variations.