Glass corrosion

Glass is a great packaging material for both oral applications and injection preparations, among other things because of its:
  • excellent chemical resistance
  • impermeability to gases
  • resistance to heat and thermal shock
  • ease of cleaning, sterilising and depyrogenising

Is glass inert?

Contrary to what is generally assumed, glass is not inert.

Glass is made in three different grades, based primarily on the hydrolytic resistance of the glass (see e.g. Standard Procedures ISO 719):
  • Type IL: Borosilicate glass
  • Type II: Soda-lime glass (with an inner surface treatment)
  • Type III: Soda-lime glass

As a general indication, Type I and Type II glass in particular are used in the production of human and veterinary preparations for injection, while type III glass is suitable for oral preparations. See also types of glass

Glass corrosion

In water or in an aqueous solution, some of the water molecules are present in the form of ions (autoprotolysis). Depending on the length of time the water and the glass are in contact, the temperature and the glass-surface-area/solution-volume ratio, an exchange takes place between the sodium ions present in the glass and the hydrogen ions of the water. This causes the hydrogen ions to be released, thus increasing the acidity.

When the acidity pH > 10, there is a risk of damage to the glass network itself.

To avoid glass corrosion (diffusion-controlled leaching (ion exchange) and hydrolytic glass-network decomposition), glass types with a higher hydrolytic resistance are used.
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