World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0002031848
Reproduction Date:

Title: Ampoule  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Dosage forms, Isothermal microcalorimetry, Amp, Containers, Loghman Pharmaceuticals
Collection: Containers, Dosage Forms, Pharmacy
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Ampoules containing pharmaceutical products
A large ampoule containing 1.3 kg of high purity caesium.

An ampoule (also ampul, ampule, or ampulla) is a small sealed vial which is used to contain and preserve a sample, usually a solid or liquid. Ampoules are commonly made of glass, although plastic ampoules do exist.

Modern ampoules are most commonly used to contain pharmaceuticals and chemicals that must be protected from air and contaminants. They are hermetically sealed by melting the thin top with an open flame, and usually opened by snapping off the neck. If properly done, this last operation creates a clean break without any extra glass shards or slivers; but the liquid or solution may be filtered for greater assurance. The space above the chemical may be filled with an inert gas before sealing. The walls of glass ampoules are usually sufficiently strong to be brought into a glovebox without any difficulty.

Glass ampoules are more expensive than bottles and other simple containers, but there are many situations where their superior imperviousness to gases and liquids and all-glass interior surface are worth the extra cost. Examples of chemicals sold in ampoules are injectable pharmaceuticals, air-sensitive reagents like tetrakis(triphenylphosphine)palladium(0), hygroscopic materials like deuterated solvents and trifluoromethanesulfonic acid, and analytical standards.


  • Historic ampoules 1
    • San Gennaro 1.1
    • Sainte Ampoule 1.2
  • Production 2
  • Other uses 3
  • Ampoule codes 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6

Historic ampoules

A collection of ancient ampoules

Historically ampoules were used to contain a small sample of a person's blood after death, which was entombed alongside them in many Christian catacombs. It was originally believed that only martyrs were given this burial treatment, though it is suspected to have been a widely-practiced tradition.

San Gennaro

An ampoule, allegedly dating back to the year 305 and filled with the blood of Saint Januarius (San Gennaro), bishop of Benevento, has been kept for centuries in the Cathedral at Naples. Every year on the 19th of September the town celebrates the Feast of San Gennaro, when the solid reddish-brown contents of the ampoule usually liquifies after being taken out of a safe, carried in procession and placed on the Cathedral's altar.[1]

Sainte Ampoule

The Holy Ghost brings the Sainte Ampoule for the baptism of Clovis I

Another well known ampoule is the Holy Ampulla (Sainte Ampoule) which held the anointing oil for the coronation of the French monarchs. The oil was allegedly passed down from the time of Clovis I; it was kept for a time in the tomb of Saint Remigius and later in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Reims. An order of knights named after the ampoule was created for the coronation of kings to have been saved and was used in coronation of Charles X.


Modern glass ampoules are produced industrially from short lengths of glass tubing, shaped by heating with gas torches and gravity in automated production lines. Computer vision techniques are usually employed for quality control.

The filling and sealing of ampoules may be done by automated machinery on an industrial scale, or by hand in small-scale industries and laboratory settings. Blank ampoules can be purchased from scientific glass supply houses and sealed with a small gas torch. This forms a membrane allowing someone to turn the open ampule upside down without spilling. A Schlenk line may be used for sealing under inert atmospheres.

Other uses

Ampoules are common practice as containers of low frequency RFID tags. These are used mainly for tagging animals, such as dogs for identification.

Ampoule codes

Diagram of an ampoule showing color-coded neck rings.

Ampoules often have colored rings of paint or enamel around their necks. Color coding of modern ampoules is done during the manufacturing process. A machine paints colored rings on the ampoule shortly after it's been sealed. The rings are made of a substance that is readable by other machines. These color codes identify the substance inside the ampoule so that it does not need to be tested to verify the contents. The machine-readable color codes allow for accurate handling of the substance for the purposes of storage, labeling, and secondary packaging. [2]

The dot above the neck identifies the location of a small cut in the glass to help breaking/opening the ampoule.

See also


  • Hans-Jürgen Bässler und Frank Lehmann : Containment Technology: Progress in the Pharmaceutical and Food Processing Industry. Springer, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3642392917
  1. ^ Thurston, Herbert (1910) "Saint Januarius" entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. Online version accessed on 2009-06-20.
  2. ^
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.