What is the difference between HPLC vials and GC vials?
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What is the difference between HPLC vials and GC vials?

Feb. 2nd, 2024
In the field of chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatography (GC) are two prominent techniques widely used in analytical laboratories. Both techniques involve the separation and analysis of compounds in a sample, but operate on different principles and require specialized equipment such as vials. Understanding the differences between HPLC and GC vials is important to ensure efficiency and accuracy in chromatographic analysis.

HPLC Vials


HPLC vials are made of high-quality glass, often borosilicate glass or similar material, known for its chemical resistance and inertness. These vials undergo a meticulous manufacturing process to meet strict purity standards, minimizing the risk of sample contamination or alteration during analysis. In addition, plastic HPLC vials made of materials such as polypropylene are available for certain applications, offering advantages such as reduced risk of breakage and compatibility with certain solvents.


The design of the HPLC vials emphasizes compatibility with autosamplers used with HPLC systems. They typically feature a narrow opening of approximately 8 to 9 mm in diameter and are sized precisely to fit the injection needle of the HPLC autosampler without introducing air bubbles or sample spatter.

HPLC vials are equipped with either screw caps or crimp caps to provide flexibility according to laboratory preferences and instrument specifications. Screw caps are convenient for repeated use and easy sealing, while crimp caps ensure a secure seal, especially in high-pressure applications.

These vials are designed to withstand the high pressures applied by HPLC systems during analysis, maintaining sample integrity and preventing leaks and ruptures that can compromise data accuracy.


HPLC vials serve as containers for liquid samples to be injected into HPLC systems. Samples may contain a wide range of substances, including pharmaceuticals, biochemicals, environmental contaminants, and food ingredients. The high quality materials and precise construction of HPLC vials ensure compatibility with the wide variety of solvents and analytes encountered in liquid chromatography analysis.

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GC Vials


GC vials are primarily manufactured from borosilicate glass, which is known for its excellent resistance to thermal expansion and chemical corrosion. This type of glass maintains sample stability and integrity, which is essential for the analysis of volatile compounds performed by gas chromatography. Borosilicate glass undergoes rigorous quality control measures to ensure consistent performance over a wide range of operating conditions.


The design of GC vials prioritizes ease of sample introduction and secure sealing to prevent sample loss or contamination during analysis of volatile compounds.As a result, GC vials have wider openings, typically 11-12 mm in diameter, than HPLC vials, facilitating sample loading into GC instruments.

GC vials typically employ a crimp-top closure mechanism, in which an aluminum cap is securely crimped onto the vial using a special crimping tool. This sealing method creates an airtight seal that prevents leakage of volatile analytes and minimizes the risk of sample degradation during analysis.For analyses requiring minimal sample volume, GC vials may incorporate inserts made of inert materials such as glass or polymers.These inserts fit snugly inside the vial, reducing dead volume and allowing for accurate sample measurement and injection.

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GC vials are specifically designed to hold volatile or semi-volatile samples to be analyzed by gas chromatography. Samples can contain a variety of compounds such as hydrocarbons, pesticides, fragrances, and environmental contaminants.The inert nature of borosilicate glass ensures that the vial will not contribute to sample contamination or interfere with analyte detection, allowing for accurate and reproducible chromatographic results.

Key differences:

Sealing Mechanism

HPLC vials employ screw or crimp caps to ensure a secure seal suitable for liquid samples undergoing high-performance liquid chromatography.GC vials utilize a crimp-top closure to form an airtight seal and prevent leakage of volatile compounds during gas chromatographic analysis.

Aperture Size

HPLC vials have narrow openings tailored to fit the injection needle of HPLC autosamplers to optimize sample introduction and minimize air entrapment.

GC vials have wider openings to facilitate introduction of volatile samples into GC instruments, accommodate larger sample volumes, and promote efficient evaporation and separation.

Sample Compatibility

HPLC vials are ideal for liquid samples subjected to high-pressure liquid chromatography and are compatible with a wide range of solvents and analytes.

GC vials are especially compatible with volatile or semi-volatile samples analyzed by gas chromatography, maintaining sample integrity and facilitating accurate quantitation of analytes across a variety of sample matrices.By recognizing the subtle characteristics and capabilities of HPLC and GC vials, analytical chemists and laboratory technicians can optimize chromatographic workflow, improve analytical accuracy, and achieve superior analytical results across myriad applications.

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