For HPLC Vial Caps and Septa, you need to know
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For HPLC Vial Caps and Septa, you need to know

Oct. 21st, 2022

The septa and vial caps are essential parts of HPLC vials. The vial cap serves as a barrier, keeping outside contaminants out of the vial and preserving the integrity of the sample. The septa, a seal between the injection needle and the vial composed of silicone, PTFE, or rubber, ensure accurate and exact sample injection. To achieve accurate and repeatable chromatographic findings, selecting the proper vial caps and septa is essential.

Chromatography Vial Caps:

Vial caps
play a crucial role in guarding the sample from spills, contamination, and evaporation. Ideally, caps should form an airtight seal and be inert. Caps may come with a silicone or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) septum, which creates a tight seal. Needles can pierce the septum because the elasticity of the material allows it to reclose.

Screw Cap

Most people have used screw caps to close their water or soda bottle. 
Screw caps for vials are not much different from the bottle caps we use every day. Screw caps are excellent at forming a tight seal. When you turn a screw cap,you apply pressure that holds the septum between the vial rim and the cap, and it won't move when it's pierced. Screw caps may have an opening to use with an autosampler or a solid top for storage purposes.

Crimp Cap

Crimp caps
 often consist of an aluminum cap and PTFE/silicone septum. This type of cap tightly squeezes the septum between the vial and the cap, forming a superior seal and reducing evaporation. Crimp caps require the use of manual or automatic crimping tools.

Snap Cap

snap cap provides a moderate seal and doesn't require special tools because it can be snapped onto a vial and removed by hand. With an opening in the top, snap caps provide easy access for autosamplers. Snap caps are recommended for short-term storage and can be used with septa and metal O-rings.

Chromatography Vial Septa

 are commonly made of PTFE and silicone. There are several benefits of silicone septa. For example, silicone can withstand extremely high and low temperatures and maintain its flexibility. It's also chemically inert and
won't impact the sample's integrity. Lastly, silicone is resistant to UV radiation and is suitable for various sterilization methods, including steam autoclaving.You have many options when it's time to select the septum. Common septum materials include:


A PTFE/silicone septum consists of pure silicone laminated with PTFE. This creates a high inertness and exceptional resealing abilities, even after multiple punctures. This is often a preferred choice for chromatography applications.


PTFE septa provide excellent resistance to solvents and are easy to penetrate. However, PTFE septa are not resealable and are recommended only for short-term storage and single-injection use.

Pre-slit PTFE/silicone

Pre-slit septa
 feature a slit in the center, allowing easier penetration and sample removal. This type of septum is similar to a silicone septum without a slit because it also has excellent resealing capabilities. One difference is a pre-slit septum is slightly less tolerant of aggressive solvents. A pre-slit PTFE/silicone septum may be the ideal choice for improving autosampler reproducibility.

PTFE/Red Rubber

PTFE/red rubber septa
 are a popular and affordable option for standard gas chromatography uses. These septa provide moderate resealing capabilities and high chemical inertness. It's not recommended to use PTFE/red rubber septa for multiple injections.Different Types of vials caps and septa has their own advantage and disadvantage. Choose the right caps and septa according to your sample's characteristics.

To gain a complete understanding of PTFE/Silicone septa, I recommend exploring this article:Premium PTFE and Silicone Septa: Reliable Sealing Solutions

Factors to Take into Account When Choosing Vial Caps and Septa

When selecting vial caps and septa for HPLC applications, several considerations should be taken into account. These factors include material considerations like chemical compatibility, physical characteristics like septa thickness and cap closing mechanisms, accessibility of pre-slit septa for automated systems, compatibility with the HPLC system and analysis needs, and cost considerations. The evaluation of these variables guarantees optimum performance and avoids problems like leaks and sample contamination.

What to Pay attention to

The compatibility of the
caps and septa with your HPLC system and analysis requirements, the material composition of the caps and septa, including their chemical compatibility with your samples and solvents, the physical properties of the septa such as thickness and the cap sealing mechanisms, the availability of pre-slit septa for automated systems, cost considerations, the potential issues of leaks and contamination and their troubleshooting methods, proper maintenance and storage guidelines to ensure longevity and performance.

Advanced considerations for specialized applications like high-temperature analysis or puncture and reseal capabilities, recent developments and innovations in vial cap and septa technology, and the best practices including regular inspection, proper cleaning and maintenance techniques, and documentation of usage for traceability, as they all play a crucial role in ensuring reliable and accurate chromatographic analysis.

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For knowledge of vials, please check this Aritcle :
What is a Good Sample Vials?