Test tube

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A test tube in a rack

A test tube is a common piece of laboratory glassware consisting of a clear glass or plastic tubing, open at the top and closed at the bottom.

Other names include culture tube or sample tube.


Test tubes are cylindrical items closed at one end. Lab types are commonly made of glass, most often borosilicate glass, while more special types are made of fused quartz, while the plastic variety is more often used in biology and biochemistry, or when working with hydrofluoric acid. Test tubes can be thin or thick walled, depending on their use.

Test tubes in general are not graduated, nor do they have any markings whatsoever.


Test tubes can be bought from lab and medical suppliers, in bulk, for a good price.

Vanilla pods are often sold in glass tubes with a plastic lid. Similar tubes are also found in many bargain stores, as containers for incense sticks. Usually there's two of them, bound with a sticker.

Plastic or glass test tubes can be found in many stores, used for storing flavors, spices, as well as many other non-edible products, such as toys. Martha Stewart test tubes are a good example. Test tube shots can sometimes be found in many clubs, bars and pubs, used for shot drinking.

Many brads, such as Jägermeister, not only sell plastic cylindrical shot tubes, but also other types, such as rectangular tubes and even tube racks of various sizes, made either from foam, metal, plastic or acrylic. Other alcohol product companies sell similar products.

It is important to remember that most of these glass test tubes do not handle thermal shock as well as lab test tubes.

DIY test tube

A simple test tube can be made by sealing a glass tube at one end using a gas torch.


See also


Relevant Sciencemadness threads