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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A vial (also known as a phial or flacon) is a small glass or plastic vessel or bottle, often used to store medication as liquids, powders or capsules. They can also be used as sample vessels; for instance, in autosampler devices in analytical chromatography. Modern vials are often made of plastics such as polypropylene.


The English word "vial" is derived from the Greek phiale, meaning "a broad flat container". Comparable terms include the Latin phiala, Late Latin fiola and Middle English fiole and viole.


There are several different types of closure systems, including screw vials (closed with a screw cap or dropper/pipette), lip vials (closed with a cork or plastic stopper) and crimp vials (closed with a rubber stopper and a metal cap). Plastic vials can have other closure systems, such as flip-tops or snap caps. A vial can be tubular, or have a bottle-like shape with a neck. The volume defined by the neck is known as the headspace. The bottom of a vial is usually flat, unlike test tubes, which have usually a rounded bottom. The small bottle-shaped vials typically used in laboratories are also known as bijou or McCartney's bottles. The bijou bottle tends to be smaller, often with a volume of around 10 milliliters.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Vial" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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