To help select the perfect chemical containers, here is a quick guide that goes through all the considerations that must be made to make the safest choice.
What do you call a chemical bottle?
Let’s start with nomenclature. Finding the right bottle begins with knowing the proper search terminology. Bottles that contain chemicals are most commonly called reagent bottles. These bottles are most frequently manufactured from plastic or glass. Other containers, such as aluminum chemical bottles, are also used in certain instances. These bottles are sealed with special caps or toppers. All reagent bottles must comply with OSHA labeling requirements and global scientific standards.
Built with safety in mind
Who will be handling your chemicals, and how? Reagent bottles and their caps or stoppers are used to store and handle chemical compounds safely, so consider the user experience when you choose your chemical bottles. For instance, some chem bottles are designed with narrow openings to allow the user to make more precise pours, while others have wide openings to make filling easier.
Top it off right
The makeup of the caps and stoppers is also a consideration to ensure that they do not negatively interact with your chemical compound. Tight-fitting caps should seal most bottles, except if your chemical compound produces gases which can build up inside such containers. Instead, use bottles with venting for such chemical mixes. Will your buyer or user need a specialized lid to access your chemicals? Tamper-resistant or easy-dispensing caps may be the best option.
Color-coded glass chemical bottles
Glass is inert and non-porous, making it a worthy choice for chemical storage. While most glass bottles for chemicals are clear, you have probably seen bottles in different translucent red, brown, or amber colors. This kind of glass reagent bottle is specifically designed to safely store chemical compounds that react to light. If your chemical blend is sensitive to visible light, UV, or IR radiation, you will need to select glass chemical bottles like this to ensure that your products don’t degrade during storage or transportation. While glass bottles provide an excellent barrier for most chemicals, they are heavy and more expensive than plastic. Plus, glass has the possibility of breaking, leaving spilled chemicals and dangerous shards behind.
What about plastic chemical bottles?
Unlike glass, plastic chemical bottles are lightweight and shatter-resistant, which comes in handy when in transport. They are made from either high-density or low-density plastic and all plastic bottles identify their origin materials via a resin identification code marked on their base. Some of these bottles are stackable with interlocking lid and base configurations to make storage easier and more convenient. You can find a seemingly endless selection of plastic bottle configurations, from tightly sealed to vented tops that allow gases to escape. Read below about the most popular plastic bottles used for chemical storage.
What does HDPE stand for?
You’ve probably heard of HDPE or seen it marked on the bottom of plastic containers. HDPE stands for High-Density Polyethylene. These translucent or colored polyethylene bottles are strong yet flexible, durable and economical, thus making them a popular choice for some, but not all, chemical bottles. They can withstand many potent chemical compounds, offering protection from leaks and degradation.
HDPE bottles with a barrier
If your chemical compound contains hydrocarbons or aromatic solvents, you can still consider using HDPE bottles, but they require a barrier. Fluoride-treated HDPE bottles provide that extra protection by exposing the bottles to fluorine gas. These specialized bottles best contain chemical compounds such as pesticides, herbicides, photographic chemicals, cleaning products and more.
What is LDPE, and how is it different than HDPE?
As you may have guessed, LDPE stands for low-density polyethylene. These polyethylene bottles allow users to squeeze the chemical compound out of the container as they are must more elastic than HDPE. LDPE bottles are more translucent and much less rigid than ones made from HDPE plastic. They are less resistant to chemical contents and more costly as well.
Is PET a Viable Option for You?
Polyethylene terephthalate or PET bottles are the plastic bottles of choice for beverages and food packaging due to their durability, high shatter resistance, transparency and light weight. It provides an oil barrier which helps protect the plastic from any chemicals being stored inside. Their composition can also be a viable option for many chemical compounds outside of acetones and ketones.
Need Rigidity? Look at Polypropylene Bottles
When you imagine a typical screw-cap jar, you are thinking of a bottle made from polypropylene plastic. It is more rigid than polyethylene, resistant to the chemicals inside and is compatible with a variety of lab agents such as most acids, bases, alcohols, aldehydes, esters and aliphatic hydrocarbons.
Why are PVC Bottles Declining?
Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, bottles are chemically resistant but vulnerable to some solvents. It is very dense, affordable, rigid, durable and strong. It will distort and become malleable at around 160 °F (71 °C), making it less than ideal in some storage situations but also means that it can be liquified for injection molding. In recent years, concerns regarding potential health risks have arisen, making it less attractive as an option.
What about aluminum bottles?
Bottles made from aluminum are lightweight, sturdy, corrosion-resistant and 100% recyclable. These bottles are perfect for long-term storing and shipping of chemicals that can be easily contaminated, such as pesticides.
Teflon Coated Bottles
The non-stick nature of Teflon, along with its resistance to powerful acids and bases, makes it a perfect coating for storage containers that demand more protective containers.
How should those reagent bottles be stored?
Once you have chosen a bottle, you still need to make sure you are storing your chemical compounds correctly. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to maximize shelf life and efficacy.
- Do choose a controlled environment for storage.
- Do provide a dark, dry space without moisture. Ideal storage temperatures range from 36°–85°F (2°–29°C); your specific chemical compound may vary.
- Don’t leave your chemical storage bottles in the trunk of your car or garage.
- Don’t let them sit directly in the sun.
- Do replace the caps right after using them.
- Don’t risk contamination by switching caps or placing caps on an unclean surface.
- Do try to turn inventory within 12 months to ensure total chemical efficacy.
By doing your due diligence and research, in addition to following these tips, you will be able to bottle your chemicals successfully and safely. If you need help with this process to find the proper chemical packaging selection, Royal Chemical can help!