Jun 2021

Testing Integrity of Bottles with Helium Leak Detection


Like vials package systems, bottles whether composed of plastic materials or glass, continue to be one of the most widely used package systems and Helium remains the gold standard for quality testing purposes.

Evaluating seal integrity of bottles or containers used for liquid contents is what ensures the quality of the bottles surpass the quality parameters. Seal integrity testing of bottles is done to ensure that the contents of the container do not leak out in any condition. As weak seals, partial seals or no seals can occur in the final sealing stage, manufacturers often conduct high-quality seal integrity tests that guarantee reliability and quality of bottle seals.

Thread shape, mating surface shape, and composition of the material used for making the container and the closure are common factors that can affect the seal integrity of bottles. An ideal seal can be generated if the container and closure materials are made up of distinct composition. Seal quality can also be affected by time-dependent factors. This is especially possible if containers, closures, or both are constructed using plastic resins. Similarly, exposing the bottle and its contents to freezing temperatures can affect the seal via expansion and contraction of the materials in threads and mating surface area.

Before dispatching, leak detection of sealed containers is a crucial vital step to ensure container’s seal integrity, food and nutrition, medical device and pharmaceutical industries require highly sensitive leak testing techniques to measure seal strength of the containers. One such method is helium leak detection.

Overview of helium leak testing?

Helium leak testing refers to the process of finding leaks in some type of enclosed or sealed system using helium as a “tracer” gas and measuring its concentration as it escapes due to leakage. It is an effective container closure integrity test method, aimed at evaluating the integrity of pharmaceutical and parenteral products. Helium leak detection works in the following way: Initially, the package is helium filled and subjected to vacuum. Then using a helium leak detector, the amount of helium escaping the package is quantitatively measured and stated as a leak rate. Apart from analyzing container closure integrity, helium leak testing is also applicable in product design, product quality analyses, failure analyses and validation. Helium leak testing is a flexible method that can be used with or without a test chamber in order to test "in-leakage" or "out-leakage", as well as leak location.

Why use helium as a tracer gas?

Helium is considered as an ideal choice of tracer gas because of the following reasons:?

  • Helium is non-toxic, non-condensable, non-flammable.
  • It is inert, making it safe for use as it will not interact with the components being tested.
  • The atom size of helium is really small, allowing it to breach pathways reliably and easily.
  • Compared to other tracer gases, helium is less expensive and readily available.
  • Its presence in the atmosphere is not more than?ppm.
bottle leak testing, helium leak testing, helium leak detection, helium leak detection for bottles, seal integrity of bottles

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