Bubble Emission Leak Test Procedure

Visual Package Leak Testing

This main benefit of a bubble emission style test (ASTM 3078) is the visual identification of a leak. With this information, technicians can identify the source of the problem and find a solution, avoiding spoiled product, product recalls and costly down time trying to identify the source of a package failure.

Visual knowledge of where a bubble is propagated tells you exactly where a package is faulty and allows you to correct the problem; leak detectors that do not give a visual location of the problem don’t allow you to easily identify failure points and retool your packaging equipment to prevent weaknesses and failures in your packaging. Bubble leak testing will give you a visual of any leaks, and may also be used for any package to determine the burst (or failure) point of the seal. The burst test outcome can be used as a company standard for regular bubble emission tests in production, and the burst level of a seal can be tracked throughout production in order to see any trends in diminishing seal integrity so that adjustments can be made to correct a problem BEFORE it occurs.

How It Works

Bubble emission tests, the ASTM D3078 testing standard, perform a simple package leak detection test through the physics of pressure differentials. This is the most common test used in the food industry and has applications through the medical, pharmaceutical and consumer goods industries as well.

A bubble emission test utilizes a vacuum tank filled with water to create visual identification of failures in package seals. This is achieved when a sealed package (which is filled with air) is submerged under water in a leak detector tank. The Tank atmosphere is then drawn into a vacuum, creating a pressure differential across the package seals. If there is a leak within the package seal, or even the package substrate (wall), air bubbles will be produced.

The bubble leak testing procedure is ideal for packages whose contents have headspace or some amount of air or gas within the package. After placing the package in the FLEXPEK, closing the lid, and submerging it under the water, a vacuum is drawn on the package; if air bubbles appear, then the package is compromised or faulty.

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