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A Guide To Bubble Leak Test

The bubble test is the simplest and least expensive method of detecting and evaluating leaks. The procedure involves creating a pressure differential across the pack with air (or some other gas) on the high pressure side (inner pack) and a water chamber on the low pressure side (outer pack). 

Leak detection is done by immersing the package in a water-filled test chamber. The headspace above the water level is evacuated, causing the pack to inflate. 

If there is a leak, the flow of air or gas through the leaks will cause bubbles to form outside the package. This method provides immediate indications of the existence and location of small leaks. To get additoinal information go to https://flexpakinc.com/test-methods/bubble-emission-test/ and learn about bubble leak tests.

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Disadvantages include a long test time (a minimum of 30 seconds per test), low sensitivity, the tendency for leaks to become clogged with viscous food materials during testing, water contamination, and partial clean-up time. 

The sensitivity of the test is not high due to operator dependency. The reproducibility and sensitivity of the bubble test depends on the use of a dark background (higher contrast), high pressure differentials, and the operator.

Operation for Bubble leak test

  • Vacuum water chamber with regulator
  • Vacuum pump
  • Water
  1. Fill the chamber with enough water to submerge a pack when it expands.
  2. Place a package to be tested in the chamber and close the lid.
  3. Turn on a vacuum pump and open a regulating valve to create a vacuum inside.
  4. Increase vacuum (up to 30 inHg) until package expands. Bubbles will come out of a leak.
  5. After the test is complete, turn the pump off and relieve the vacuum.