Features and Benefits of Borosilicate Glass versus Polymer Materials

Light Transmission

  • Excellent light transmission
  • No solarization or browning effect
  • No UV-protective additive or coating necessary to secure material properties
  • Lifetime of Borosilicate glass tubing > 50 years

Fire protection

  • Glass does not burn or give off toxic fumes


  • Glass is a chemically highly resistant material. With plastic tubing, depending on the polymer type, monomers or oligomers of hazardous substances such as Bisphenol-molecules can be leached into the algae culture.


  • Mechanical stability allows continuous in-line cleaning with polymer pellets
  • Chemical stability allows cleaning in place (CIP)
  • Lower material and maintenance costs compared to quality polymer tubes
Borosilicate Glass
Borosilicate Glass

Thermal stability

  • No need for expansion loops due to low thermal expansion
Example: for 5.5 m long tubes and a temperature increase of 20 °C/ 36 °F the expansion of Borosilicate glass is only 0.36 mm/0.01’’ while polymers expand from 3.3-8.8 mm/0.13’’-0.35’’ depending on polymer type

Cost saving

  • Glass tubes can last fifty years and longer
  • Reduced number of racks due to high mechanical stability, which allows increased tube support distances without sagging of tubes
Example: double distance compared to PMMA
  • Reduced number of connections due to long tube lengths of 5.5 m
Sagging of water filled tubes
Sagging of water filled tubes (outer diameter 65mm, wall thickness 2.2mm, length 2.75 m). The sag of the glass and polymer tubes is 0.5 mm and 8.6 mm, respectively. The polymer tube would need to be supported every 1.5 m for the same sag as the glass tube.


  • No permanent deformation of glass tubes in contrast to polymer tubes
Exhibitions & Events
Exhibition GFIA, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 02-05 to 02-06-2018
SCHOTT North America, Inc.
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