Picture of two pillboxes General purpose material

The vial


A vial is a small glass container (white or brown), shaped like a bottle and with a more or less wide opening. It can be hermetically sealed, either by means of a screw-on cap (screw neck) or by means of a crimp seal plug (crimp neck).

There are different sizes (typically 1 to 15 mL). They often have graduations, which give a very rough estimate of the volume contained in the bottle.


A vial can have several uses:

  • storage of small volumes of liquid (water, solvents, acidic or basic solutions), at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
    For example: storage of standards or samples in an autosampler for analysis by chromatography
  • preparation of a small volume of standard solution, using a micropipette or syringe to accurately collect small volumes
  • collection of an extract at the end of a step of extraction or purification.
Information pictogram
In practice, the word “vial” is also commonly used in French to name this recipient.
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