Difference Between Ampoule and Vial (With Table)

Ampoule and vial are important tools for storing liquids. Often it can be seen on the shelves of laboratories. Both categories play a vital role in preserving and storing liquids. Although both are not the same and both have different qualities, in this article we will discuss it more.

Ampoule vs Vial

The main difference between ampoule and vial is ampoule is the small tiny container for single-dose or single-use on the other hand vials can be reused for storing the compounds. An ampoule is a sealed neck container on the other hand vial caps can be opened and closed.

An ampoule is also known as an ampule or ampulla, it is a sealed small vial used for storing samples, usually liquids. It cannot be used more than once after the seal is broken to prevent contamination. However, once they are opened, the contents can be stored in a sealed sterile vial.

Vials are multi-dose contained used for holding serums, liquid drugs, and other compounds that are mostly used in the medical industry. Vials are not sealed like ampoules and can be reused once they are opened since they have closable caps. The vial has a flat base so it can be rested on the surface.

Comparison Table Between Ampoule and Vial

Parameters of comparisonAmpoule Vial
Seal UsedA heat or laser seal is used to lump any air contact.A wooden or rubber stopper is usually used to seal the neck of the vial
ShapeOddly shapeFlat shape
Re-usabilityAmpoule can’t be reused used againThe vial can be used again
Duration of storageThey are temporary storage.They can be stored for an extensive period.
Ease of AccessThe process of opening an ampoule is tough, as the glass neck needs to be broken and may consequence in injuries.The process of opening a vial is comparatively calmer as you simply need to remove the stopper to access the contents of the vessel.

What is Ampoule?

An ampoule is a hermetically sealed container made of plastic or glass, mostly glass to store sterile medical solution or powder which to be made up in solution. It’s tiny with a sealed neck for a single dosage. With using flame the neck of an ampoule is being sealed to prevent contamination. To open an ampoule you must break the seal. They are for one-time use which helps to preserve the purity and potency of the products because the ingredients are not exposed to sunlight or air which can degrade the contents inside the ampoule.

Reused after the sealed neck is broken, in pharmacies and other stores, it’s usually thrown away once the sealed neck is broken. However, the content inside the ampoule can be stored in a sealed sterile vial.

Besides being used by pharmaceutical companies to store chemical compounds, ampoules are used by the cosmetic, retail, dental, toiletries, and diagnostic industries. An ampoule is the most suitable for storing chemical compounds temporarily. The unstable chemical compound that in presence of any element or oxygen remains potent when it is stored in the ampoule.

Some of the application of ampoule-

  1. Retail industry
  2. First aid
  3. Pharmaceuticals
  4. Diagnostic
  5. Cosmetics
  6. Dental
  7. Toiletries
  8. Health and beauty aids
  9. Veterinary 

What is a Vial?

A vial is a small vessel for holding serums, liquid drugs, and other compounds that are mostly used in the medical industry. A vial is a multi-dose container that is closed or closable. They are typically made of glass. For glass vials, screw caps are generally used, while a crimp vial uses a metal cap and a rubber stopper. It has a flat base so it can be rested on a counter or flat surface. A vial is a wider term as compared to an ampoule.

Vials are more versatile than ampoules since their usage is varied. Vials are used by the cosmetic industry to store perfume and different types of serums and essential oils. They are also used by pharmaceutical companies to store vaccine dosage and medicine. Moreover, they are used for scientific sample vessels, research applications, and industrial applications.  Vials are not enclosed types and it is known for storing stable elements.

A vial is not a hermetic type like an ampoule and it’s best for storing stable elements. Vials can be reused for storing. It can be cleaned and reused many times unlike ampoule and has less risk of getting injury as compared to an ampoule. In short, it can be sterilized and used again.

Some application of vial-

  1. Autosampler devise in analytical chromatography
  2. Scientific sample vessels
  3. Pharmaceutical application (powder, liquid, or capsule)
  4. Research application
  5. Industrial application

Main Difference Between Ampoule and Vial

  1. Ampoules cannot be used more than one time once the seal is broken whereas vials can be reused for storing purposes after opening the cap.
  2. Ampoules are hermetically sealed on the other hand vials are not sealed hermetically.
  3. Ampoule doesn’t have a rubber stopper and you need to break it to have access to medication whereas the vial has a rubber stopper that you need to put the needle into it to get the liquid or the compound mixture.
  4. Ampoules are for temporary storage on the other hand in a vial the contents can be stored for a longer period.
  5. Ampoules are oddly shaped whereas vials have a flat base.

Conclusion

From the above discussion, we can say both the term require reconstitution. Both can be seen on the selves of chemistry labs or pharmaceutical laboratories. Both categories play a vital role in preserving liquids. Ampoule doesn’t have a rubber stopper and you need to break it to have access to medication whereas the vial has a rubber stopper that you need to put the needle into it to get the liquid or the compound mixture.

Ampoule cannot be used more than once after the seal is broken to prevent contamination but Vials are not sealed like ampoule and can reuse after once they are opened since they have closable caps.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1045105604000879
  2. https://www.scielo.br/j/eins/a/qzxMJNqrhCFv3TbD79SK4tv/?lang=en