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Water Break Test

Last updated: March 21, 2017

What Does Water Break Test Mean?

A water break test is an old and fairly crude testing method to determine the cleanliness of a surface. It indicates if the material under test has any hydrophobic (water fearing) residue such as oil or any oil-based coatings or paints.


Corrosionpedia Explains Water Break Test

Once a material has been thoroughly cleaned (e.g., in preparation for coating), certain tests may be conducted to ensure that it is clean and that no hydrophobic residue or other residue such as dirt, sand, fingerprints, etc. are left behind.

A water break test is performed as follows:

  • Place the cleaned material or surface under test in a vertical position
  • Use a spray bottle filled with distilled water to wet the surface two or three times at a distance of 6 inches (15 cm)
  • If the material is properly cleaned and does not contain any hydrophobic residue, then the water will simply sheet off. Otherwise, it will tend to form water beads or small droplets because the water does not mix with any oil or oily substances
It should be noted that the water break test is a very simple test method and is not used for precision cleaning applications.

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