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Glass in Pharmaceutical Packaging - Types, Properties & Uses

Glass in Pharmaceutical Packaging - Types, Properties & Uses

Glass in Pharmaceutical Packaging - It is the preferred packaging material. It is also used in pharmaceutical industry because it possesses superior protective qualities. Glass containers are readily available in a variety of sizes and shapes.
It is an amorphous, hard, brittle, transparent or translucent supercooled liquid of infinite viscosity, having no definite melting point obtained by fusing a mixture of a number of metallic silicates or borates of sodium, potassium, calcium and lead.
E.g. Ampoules, bottles, vials, syringes, cartridges etc.

Properties

  • Amorphous
  • Brittle (easily breakable).
  • Transparent or translucent.
  • Good electrical insulator.
  • Unaffected by air, water, acid or chemical reagents except for HF.
  • No definite crystal structure means it has high compressive strength.
  • Can absorb, transmit and reflect light.

Advantages

  • It is inert to most drug products.
  • Impart no odour and taste to the product.
  • Impervious to air and moisture.
  • No change in ageing.
  • FDA approved.
  • It allows easy inspection of the container contents.
  • It can be coloured to protect contents from harmful wavelengths of light.
  • Easy to clean and sterilize by heat.
  • Containers available in the variety of sizes and shapes.
  • It is recyclable. There are a few exceptions. For example, glass from light bulbs and window panes cannot be recycled because they contain ceramics and other impurities that would contaminate the entire recycling process.

Disadvantages

  • Fragile in nature that produces fragments and cracks.
  • They may crack when subjected to sudden changes in temperature.
  • Expensive in comparison to plastic.
  • Transportation cost is high because of its heavy weight.
  • Less pressure safety and impact resistance.
  • Special care and protection are required for transportation of glass containing formulations.
  • Certain types of glasses release alkali into the container contents.

Composition

It is composed primarily of sand, soda ash, limestone, and cullet. Cullet is broken glass that is mixed with the sand, soda ash and limestone to act as a fusion agent for the entire mixture. The most common cations found in pharmaceutical glassware are silicon, aluminium, boron, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, barium. The only anion is oxygen.

Types of Glasses in Pharmaceutical Packaging

These have been categorized as per USP into four different types as.
1. Type I (Highly resistant, Neutral or Borosilicate glass).
2. Type II (Treated soda lime glass).
3. Type III (Soda lime or Regular soda lime glass).
4. Type NP (General purpose soda lime glass).

Evaluation

1. Powdered glass test.
2. Water attack test.

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