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What is a Glass Tube?

Clear glass tube

What is a glass tube? Is it something that can help me with my business? This has been one of the few-most-asked questions businesses ask before they secure glass tubes for their businesses. So, for the benefit of everyone, we’ll dissect what a glass tube is in this article!

We will neither beat around the bush nor would we give you inaccurate information about them. Everything you need to learn and find out about glass tube, we’ll give you!

In the best, simplest, and easiest ways to understand as possible, a glass tube is a cylindrical structure made of glass, often transparent or translucent.
Glass tubes range in various sizes, types, and thicknesses – all according to the requirements and needs of the client.
They find use in laboratory settings for experiments, as components in scientific instruments, or as containers for liquids and gases, which we’ll tackle more later.
What is a Glass Delivery Tube?


Figure 2: An image of a bent glass delivery tube

A glass delivery tube is also a glass tube. The term “delivery” only denotes that the purpose of the tube is to deliver or to transport gas from one point or vessel to another.

The terms can confuse you a little bit, but they’re technically the same.

What is a Glass Tube Used For: Glass Tube Uses

Glass tubes are known to have a wide array of uses, but the most common uses for these hollow glass products, regardless of the make include test tubes, glassware for laboratory or chemical use, medical and pharmaceutical packaging, food and beverage packaging, biology and biochemical industry, gardening, and many more!

As you can see, glass tubes are used in many different business sectors and industries, not just a single one. This simply means that glass tubes are flexible and versatile in terms of their chemical structure and their physical attributes.

What Glass Tube is Used in Chemistry?


Figure 4: An image of a glass tube with a black cover

Laboratory glass tubes or labware are the pieces of equipment in a lab. This, of course, includes glass tubes–and is actually abundant. The specific type of glass tubes used in a chemical laboratory are those that are made from borosilicate glass.

The reason why borosilicate glass is among the favorites is because of its ability to resist chemical attacks and reactions. Compared to other well-known materials, borosilicate is known to be extremely comprehensive and highly-resistant to organic substances, chemical solutions, deionized water, and most acids.

What is a Glass Tube Made Of?


Figure 5: Glass tubes made from two similar materials, which is soda-lime glass

This is a relative question as the composition of the glass tube usually depends on its use. In a typical sense, the standard materials for glass tubes are soda-lime glass units, which is a combination of soda (sodium oxide), silica (silicon dioxide), and lime (calcium oxide).

However, some glass tubes are made with reinforced material for specialized application, such as borosilicate glass tubes or even quartz tubes. Thanks to the chemical stability, resistance, and overall efficiency of borosilicate, quartz, and other materials in the same manner, they’re better for specific chemical applications and uses.

Types of Glassware For Laboratories


Figure 6: An image of different types of glassware from laboratories (not really glass tubes)

Now, there are many different types and kinds of glass tubes, according to material and main functionality. According to Global Spec, the global resource for engineers, experts, and anything about the breakdown of materials, these types can be divided according to:

  • Physical and optical properties
  • Make and materials
  • Thermal properties
  • Electrical and mechanical parameters

Here’s a table to help you get a better idea of the different classifications and kinds of glass tubes and rods.

Amber glass tubes

Environmentally-stable glass tubes

Soft glass tubes

Neutral glass tubes

Alkaline glass tubes

Artistic glass tubes

Borosilicate glass tubes

Fused silica tubes

Corrosion-resistant tubes

Aluminosilicate glass tubes

Ultraviolet (UV) tubes

Lead-free glass tubes

NOTE: Your options for glass tube types isn’t just limited to this. Some are even developing and innovating different options, such as highly-chemically-resistant glass tubes, low-melting passivation tubes, and many others that have the same effects!

Glass Tube Price

The pricing for glass tubes range between $0.03 to $30 per piece. It’s a large gap, but cheap glass tubes usually indicate that they’re made from the lowest quality of materials and are only generally used for simple storage. The higher the price, the better and more effective they become.

Standard soda-lime glass tubes are usually less than a dollar, while quartz, sapphire, and borosilicate glass tubes cost more.

In case you didn’t know, the price of glass tube units varies, as they aren’t made equally. In fact, many argue that the cheaper the price of glass tubes, the lower their quality. While that somehow connects the dots, that’s not always the case.

Prices in different countries vary, too, as most businesses that need it look for manufacturers in Asia, particularly in the Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, and Thai regions.

If you want to be one with how much they are, check out the price range that Made-In-China showcases!

Can Glass Tubes Be Used as Pipes?


Figure 7: An image of glass tubes used as pipes


Yes, they can be used as pipes for small-scale applications, such as the transfer of chemicals from one container to another or, to make it simpler, a medicine dropper. By definition, a pipe is something that conveys water, gas, oil, or any other fluid substance.

So long as it’s being used to transfer substances from one point to another, it can be considered as a pipe.

What is a Mini Glass Tube?

A mini glass tube is a small-scale glass tube that are typically used as an alternative to plastic tubes. They’re labeled and categorized as “mini” tubes because they’re only capable of carrying up to 200 uL volumes.

Furthermore, some chemical applications, that could go wrong with using plastic, would fit the use of mini glass tubes best as it would least likely react to the chemicals. This, of course, will still depend on the chemicals that would be transported.

What Should You Look For in a Glass Tube Manufacturer?

When choosing between multiple manufacturers, it’s important to lay the foundation on what you need to look at before deciding what you want. This allows you to stick to the plan and really work with the people you want to work with for this particular project.

To help you identify that, here’s an outline of the things you can consider looking for before working with a glass tube manufacturer.

Glass Tube vs. Quartz Tubes: Which is Better For You?

Glass tubes and quartz tubes sound the same, but are they? The short and simple answer–they’re not. There are a lot of structural and mechanical differences between them, and to help you get it more, here’s a table that outlines just that.

Property

Glass Tubes

Quartz Glass Tubes

Chemical Composition

Silica, soda ash, and limestone are the primary components of a standard soda-lime glass tube.

Made of pure quartz crystal, which is a kind of silicon dioxide, resulting in better mechanical properties.

Chemical Resistance

Chemical resistance is moderate, yet it is sensitive to specific substances.

It has a high chemical resistance, which makes it resistant to corrosive chemicals.

Cost

Less expensive and more affordable than quartz. They’re also easier to find in the market.

Because of the purity of the quartz material, it is usually more costly. Also, relatively easy to find, just costlier

Transparency

Transparent, with varying degrees of clarity depending on composition.

Highly translucent, with high light transmission.

Thermal Stability

Lower thermal stability and reliability than those of borosilicate and quartz.

High thermal stability, withstanding harsh temperatures.

Applications

Commonly used for ordinary glassware, lights, household items, and simple laboratory equipment.

High purity and durability to hostile conditions are required in applications such as semiconductor fabrication and scientific research.

UV Transmission

UV transmission may have restrictions. Not as versatile as quartz glass tubes.

Better and higher-than-the-average UV transmission.

How Are Glass Tubes Made?

The manufacturing procedure for glass tubes vary from one manufacturer to the other. Contrary to popular belief, they’re not made equally and in the same way. In general, here’s the process of how glass tubes are manufactured:

Step #1: Selecting the Raw Materials

It all starts with the raw ingredients, like any other glass product. This is mostly comprised of silica sand, soda ash, and limestone, to ensure a high-quality glass composition. For other glass tube types, other materials are used.

Once that’s done, the next step would be to start the combining or mixing of the collected materials.

Step #2: Melting the Glass

The raw materials are then subjected to highly-fluctuating temperatures, usually upwards of 1700 degrees Celsius in furnaces where they can fit.

This is the catalyst that transforms the mixture into molten glass, which is a critical starting point for the tube manufacture.

Step #3: Constructing or Shaping the Tube

Various processes are used to form and shape the molten glass into tubes. Extrusion is a typical procedure that includes forcing molten glass through a die to make a continuous tube of the specified diameter.

Besides extrusion, other processes like the Vello or Danner processes are done to achieve accurate diameters and shapes for the tubes.

Step #4: Cooling and Annealing the Newly-Formed Glass

The newly produced glass tubes will sent to go through slow and controlled cooling, known as annealing. The purpose of this is that it reduces internal stresses, guaranteeing consistent thickness and structural integrity.

NOTE: Annealing properly is critical for preventing breakage during future handling, as well as help in keeping the structure intact, in case it breaks and falls.

Step #5: Finishing and Cutting

Following annealing, the glass tubes are precisely cut to exact lengths using cutting tools. Usually, the tools involved in this process are particular for the shaping of the glass tubes, instead of the common flat glass cutters.

The edges are then polished to obtain a smooth finish, critical for both operation and worker safety, as well as quality.

Step #6: Quality Control and Assessment

Quality control and checks are in place to see if the finished product is within the requirements of the client. The level of strictness and control depends on the company, but the common things manufacturers often look out for are:

  • Uniformity of diameter
  • Surface imperfections
  • Edge flaws
  • And overall structural integrity

NOTE: Defective tubes are discarded and are often added into the next mix.

Step #7: Coating and Polishing

Depending on the needs of the client, the generic glass tubes will then undergo coating and polishing processes. These are intended for the application of the glass tube–say, for labware tubes, chemical strengthening and deionization are the common things they’re subjected to.

Step #8: Packaging and Distribution

When all done, they’ll undergo packaging and distribution. They’ll be wrapped with things to cushion blows and movement inside the cargo and to prevent them from breaking during transport.

Which Glass Tube Manufacturer Should You Trust?

Are you stuck in choosing between different suppliers? If so, then we here at GLASHern are ready to help! We are a richly-experienced glass manufacturing company that have had our eyes on expertise for over a decade.

If you’re looking for a fair price, higher-quality product lines, and an expansive range of experience with glass, you’re looking at the best deal! We are knowledgeable to work with a plethora of glass products, and you’ll definitely love working with us!

Why GLASHern?

GLASHern’s capabilities and skills are globally-known, especially since we started product development and innovation. Among the many reasons why you should work with us, the most common are:

  • We have over 14 years of experience in the glassmaking industry
  • Our team is composed of highly-skilled engineers, glassmaking operators and experts, and workers, with a combined experience of 60+ years
  • We have a Research & Development (R&D) team to help kickstart your innovative intuitions
  • Our product line is 200+ and is still going up
  • We offer a free quotation of whatever service or products you need

Conclusion

The common mistake businesses and companies do is that they undermine the value of glass tube. Many think that since it’s a simple material, it can easily be sourced out. The truth is, it’s opposite – the simpler and more minor a component is, the more crucial the quality becomes.

You can trust GLASHern with the glass tube products you need and you’re looking for. Our experience, high-tech capabilities, and overall skillset have been proven for 14+ years in the global market. Like many businesses and organizations worldwide, you can trust us with your production, too!

What are you waiting for? Reach out to us and we will send you a free estimate!

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