• Many UN-approved DG packages did not prevent leaks under combined vacuum and vibration characteristics of air and high-altitude shipments.
• An increase in altitude affects larger caps more than smaller ones because the pressure differential acts over a greater area. The potential for leaks is greater for large caps.
• HDPE bottles tended to leak about 50% more than glass ones.
• Linerless closures performed only a little better than PVC liners. Induction foil and pressure-sensitive adhesive liners were not tested in this study. However, in earlier studies done by the Consortium of Distribution Packaging Research, these types of liners—when tested on gallon-size bottles filled with water, and subjected to handling (drops) and random vibration simulating ground transportation—performed worse than nonadhesive liners. In fact, both types showed about twice as many leakers as bottles having an LDPE foam liner.
High-altitude testing of glass and plastic bottles used in pharmaceutical packaging is critical, since the integrity of the product may be compromised during shipping and handling. This is an abridged version of a more comprehensive paper co-authored by Michigan State University School of Packaging professors S. Paul Singh, Gary Burgess, Hugh Lockhart and research assistant Matt Kremer. The paper details the methods and materials used for testing, while also listing study references.