Lab bottles perform a wide variety of functions in a scientific laboratory. Some bottles are designed as general use containers for storing or mixing liquid or solid substances, such as powders, sample media, reagents, and chemicals. Bottles designed for specific purposes include dropper bottles, wash bottles, and serum bottles. Bottle shapes and body materials are designed to suit the requirements of specific chemical, biological, pharmaceutical, or scientific applications. Some round wide-mouth or narrow-mouth bottles are used primarily for media, sample, and chemical storage or general use. A square bottle provides space-efficient storage and gripping ease. Lab bottles made of soda-lime glass are inert and can store solvents or aggressive chemicals. Borosilicate glass bottles provide heat resistance, and plastics such as LDPE (low-density polyethylene), HDPE (high-density polyethylene), polyethylene, or polypropylene provide resistance to particular chemicals or moisture.
Caps, stoppers, droppers, or nozzles often come with lab bottles to contain or dispense the material stored inside. Dropper bottles, also known as dropping bottles or dispensing bottles, have a dropper top or separate dropper to dispense liquid in small, controlled drops. Dispensing control tips snap or twist onto the neck of dropper bottles and can dispense a drop of liquid as small as 44 microliters. Another type of dropper bottle comes with a dropper assembly consisting of a pipette and bulb. The bulb, when squeezed, creates suction that draws the liquid substance into the pipette. The dropper can then be used to transport the liquid and dispense it in a dropping motion.
Wash bottles have a screw cap with a built-in angled spout, stem and draw tube. They are typically used for storing washing solutions and washing labware. Materials include flexible plastics, such as LDPE, so that the bottle can be squeezed to dispense liquid from the spout. Many wash bottles are color-coded or labeled to identify the liquid, and some provide a color Right-to-Know label with flammability, health hazard, reactivity, and health warning information for its contents.
Other examples of lab bottles designed for specific applications include a TCLP extraction bottle, which is a cylindrical container made of borosilicate glass for testing for contaminants in water, and a pycnometer bottle for measuring the specific gravity, or density, of a material.