Scientists examining samples infront of a network pattern

Mechanical stability testing of pharmaceutical products Characterize pharmaceutical container strength and understand the origins of breakage

contact us

Assure product reliability and guide line optimization

Characterizing the mechanical stability of pharmaceutical products is important for two major cases: product specification and process optimization.

For pressure-sensitive products such as containment solutions for emergency pens, the specification and verification of mechanical strength is vital, since it ensures reliability at the moment of use. For process optimization, mechanical strength testing and fractographic analysis methods guide root-cause investigations into glass breakage and verify the appropriate optimization measures.

Mechanical strength testing: Reading systematic change

In the mechanical stability testing of pharmaceutical products, containers are loaded with controlled and increasing pressure until breakage occurs. When testing a larger set of containers with the same production and process history, the resulting statistics give a breakage probability.

To investigate the origins of glass breakage on production lines such as fill and finish, sample sets are taken at different positions along the process chain. If a physical impact occurs at a specific stage in the production or filling process, a clear change in the breakage probability curve will be visible for the sample sets representing the status before and after this production stage. The results may also reveal a change in position on the container where the cracks appear. This is another indicator of a changing breakage mechanism.

These observations provide evidence for the systematic impact of line processes or production modules on mechanical stability and the extent of a reduction in strength. Customers can use the resulting data to draw conclusions and decide whether the investigated line module impacts mechanical stability or not. This way customers ensure to invest time and money for line optimization only where it's relevant. After optimization measures, the repetition of the mechanical strength testing creates evidence to assess the achieved improvement effect.

Optimization processes are a key element in the mechanical stability testing of pharmaceutical products

Fractography: Reading the origins of breakage events

Container breakage is a critical event, particularly during filling, so an investigation of its origins led by the quality department is essential. However, all that is usually left is a broken container and a few shards.

This is where fractographic analysis comes in. By characterizing the fracture patterns of cracked or broken containers, experts can read the indications of the breakage process, the contact materials responsible, and the forces involved. Our fractography experts can support your investigations by revealing the origins of breakage events that cannot be read by non-specialists.

Significantly reduce container breakage by trusting Schott Pharma’s mechanical stability testing

Learn about the nature of glass, its proper handling, and reasons for breakage

To avoid glass breakage in production, an understanding of the material properties of glass and its proper handling is essential. Our experts can provide your team with on-site training to promote this understanding, as well as the different methods of breakage-related investigation and production-line optimization.

Proven expertise – We pioneered the field of fractographic analysis, have gained deep insights over the years, and now teach the industry.

Learning icon

Learning included – Our experts not only deliver scientific results, but also assist in the interpretation and general understanding of proper glass handling.

lab icon

Contract lab – As an independent service laboratory, we can analyze all containers, no matter which supplier they are from.


Fully accredited – We are DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025-accredited and FDA-registered to guarantee the acceptability of your study results by the regulatory authorities.

Mechanical stability investigation best practices

In the white paper “Why do Pharmaceutical Containers Break” SCHOTT Pharma experts explain how to find answers via strength testing and fractography.

“Why do Pharmaceutical Containers Break?” whitepaper by SCHOTT Pharma

Mechanical stability testing: How to proceed

SCHOTT Pharma Services’ team of specialists offers support and advice about your pharmaceutical packaging challenge. We provide guidance and a complete process that will take you from initial request to effective solution.

Get in touch icon

1. Get in touch

Tell us about your current needs using the contact form below, or phone us directly (see number in contact information below).

Receive a study proposal icon

2. Receive a study proposal

Based on your information, our scientific experts will advise you and create a customized study proposal that conforms to the latest regulatory guidelines.

sample requirements icon

3. Quotation and sample requirements

Based on your feedback, we will provide a quotation, comprising a detailed study protocol and instructions for sample selection, packaging, and submission.

Sample submission icon

4. Sample submission

You then send the samples to our laboratories with a completed submission form, proforma invoice, and material safety data sheet.

Get in touch

Dr. Matthias Bicker

Dr. Matthias Bicker

Scientific Advisor Pharma Services

* Field is required

SCHOTT Pharma will use your data only for reacting to your inquiry. Find more information about processing your personal data in SCHOTT Pharma’s data privacy policy


I agree that SCHOTT Pharma AG & Co. KGaA may send me e-mails with information on products and services of SCHOTT Pharma. My data will not be passed on to third parties. After registration, I can revoke my consent at any time at the SCHOTT Subscription Center following the link in each email footer.