ASTM F22 - 13

    Standard Test Method for Hydrophobic Surface Films by the Water-Break Test

    Active Standard ASTM F22 | Developed by Subcommittee: E21.05

    Book of Standards Volume: 15.03


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 The water-break test as described in this test method is rapid, nondestructive, and may be used for control and evaluation of processes for the removal of hydrophobic contaminants. This test method is commonly used for in-process verification of the absence of surface contaminants on metal surfaces that may interfere with subsequent surface treatments such as priming, conversion coating, anodizing, plating, or adhesive bonding

    5.2 This test method is not quantitative and is typically restricted to applications where a go/no go evaluation of cleanliness will suffice.

    5.3 The test may also be used for the detection and control of hydrophobic contaminants in processing environments. For this application, a witness surface free of hydrophobic films is exposed to the environment and subsequently tested. The sensitivity of this test will vary with the level of airborne contaminant and the duration of exposure of the witness surface.

    5.4 For quantitative measurement of surface wetting, test methods that measure contact angle of a sessile drop of water or other test liquid may be used in some applications. Measurement methods based on contact angle are shown in Test Methods C813, D5946, and D7490; and Practice D7334.

    5.4.1 Devices for in situ measurement of contact angle are available. These devices are limited to a small measurement surface area and may not reflect the cleanliness condition of a larger surface. For larger surface areas, localized contact angle measurement, or other quantitative inspection, combined with water-break testing may be useful.

    5.5 For surfaces that cannot be immersed or doused with water, or where such immersion or dousing is impractical, Test Method F21 may be useful.

    Note 2This test method is not appropriate where line of sight evaluation is not feasible; or for assembled hardware where there is a risk for entrapment of water in faying surfaces or complex structures where it may not be effectively removed.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the detection of the presence of hydrophobic (nonwetting) films on surfaces and the presence of hydrophobic organic materials in processing environments. When properly conducted, the test will enable detection of molecular layers of hydrophobic organic contaminants. On very rough or porous surfaces, the sensitivity of the test may be significantly decreased.

    1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. The inch-pound values given in parentheses are for information only.

    1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    C813 Test Method for Hydrophobic Contamination on Glass by Contact Angle Measurement

    D351 Classification for Natural Muscovite Block Mica and Thins Based on Visual Quality

    D1193 Specification for Reagent Water

    D2578 Test Method for Wetting Tension of Polyethylene and Polypropylene Films

    D5946 Test Method for Corona-Treated Polymer Films Using Water Contact Angle Measurements

    D7334 Practice for Surface Wettability of Coatings, Substrates and Pigments by Advancing Contact Angle Measurement

    D7490 Test Method for Measurement of the Surface Tension of Solid Coatings, Substrates and Pigments using Contact Angle Measurements

    F21 Test Method for Hydrophobic Surface Films by the Atomizer Test


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 25.220.20 (Surface treatment)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/F0022

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