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Chemical Packaging Types

11 April 2024 Posted by: makeyourmark New Technologies

Chemical packaging is a multifaceted field encompassing a wide array of vessels and containers used to store chemicals. The types of chemical packaging depend on the storage, transportation, and capacity requirements of individual chemicals. Tailored to meet those requirements, chemical packaging works to prevent leaks and preserve the integrity of the stored substances. In order to choose the most suitable type of chemical packaging, it is important to first understand the options available. 

What are the different types of chemical packaging?

There are several different types of chemical containers designed to safely hold and transport chemicals. The sizes of chemical packaging may also vary, depending on the intended chemical’s properties, volume, or volatility.

Some common types of chemical packaging include:

  • Drums: These are typically made of steel or plastic and are used for storing and transporting large quantities of chemicals. They are sturdy and often come with sealing lids to prevent leaks.
  • Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs): Large containers used for transporting and storing bulk quantities of chemicals. They are often made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and have a capacity of up to 1,000 liters.
  • Jerricans: These are smaller containers made of plastic or metal, usually with a capacity of 5-30 liters. They are used for storing and transporting smaller quantities of chemicals.
  • Bottles and Jars: For storing and dispensing small quantities of chemicals. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and are usually made of glass or plastic. 
  • Cans: Small containers made of metal or plastic, typically used for storing and transporting paints, solvents, and other liquid chemicals.
  • Pails: Similar to drums but smaller in size, typically with a capacity of 5-20 liters. They are used for storing and transporting various types of chemicals.
  • Carboys: These are large bottles typically made of glass or plastic, used for storing and transporting liquids, including chemicals.
  • Flexitanks: These are large, flexible containers used for transporting bulk liquids. They are made of multiple layers of polyethylene and can hold up to 24,000 liters of liquid chemicals.

What are the 3 levels of packaging?

There are three broad levels of chemical packaging: primary, secondary, and tertiary packaging. Primary packaging refers to the container that has direct contact with the chemical or substance, and is typically designed to provide a barrier against external elements, prevent leaks, and maintain the chemical’s integrity. 

Examples of primary packaging:

  • Bottles
  • Cans
  • Vials and cap

Secondary packaging is the outer packaging that holds the primary container. Its main purpose is to act as an extra layer of protection during transport and storage. Secondary packaging is also useful for organizing and handling primary containers efficiently. 

Examples of secondary packaging:

  • Pallets
  • Crates
  • Cardboard boxes

Tertiary packaging is the outermost layer of packaging and is used for bulk transportation and storage, protecting the primary and secondary containers from damage or environmental factors. 

Examples of tertiary packaging:

  • Shrink wrap
  • Shipping containers
  • Stretch wrap

Chemical Packaging Materials

The choice of chemical packaging material significantly impacts the stored chemical’s stability and safety. Different chemicals have properties that can interact with packaging materials, leading to contamination, degradation, or hazardous reactions. For example, some chemicals can corrode certain metals, such as acids corroding aluminum or copper. Similarly, some chemicals can permeate through plastics, leading to leaks or loss of product integrity. 

It’s essential to consider chemical compatibility when selecting packaging materials. Manufacturers often provide compatibility charts or guidelines to help users select appropriate packaging materials for specific chemicals. Using incompatible packaging materials can result in safety hazards, environmental contamination, and financial losses.

Read more about the chemical packaging industry on our blog page or learn more about ILT, the world leader in manufacturing seals and septa here.