There are a number of approaches for evaluating the integrity of pouches. The table below provides an assessment of each test’s sensitivity, whether or not the test is destructive, associated standard test methods, and popular manufacturers. Care should be taken to ensure that overly stringent sensitivity levels have not been established.
|Standard Test Methods||Manufacturers||Comments|
|Visual Inspection||0.003″||Nondestructive||ASTM F1886||Not applicable||Appropriate for packages with one transparent/translucent material. Sensitivity is very dependent upon the contrast between sealed and unsealed areas and the types of material used.|
|Dye Penetration||0.002″||Destructive||ASTM F1929||Dye can be created in-house||Quick, simple test. Surfactant and dye level may need to be adjusted to ensure proper detection is achieved with film/film packages.|
|Internal Pressurization (bubble leak)||Gross leaks||Destructive||ASTM F2096|
|Bubble Emission (vacuum)||10-6 Pa m3/s||Destructive||ASTM D3078||Carleton Haug Quality Equipment||Small leaks may not be detected with this procedure dependent upon the packaging materials and the product contained. Must have a headspace.|
|Vacuum Decay||0.0005″ channels
|Pressure Decay||10-5 Pa m3/s||Destructive||ASTM F2095||Mocon
Alcatel Vacuum Products
|Sensitivity dependent upon package volume. Seals or surfaces cannot be in contact with water or other liquid.|
|CO2 Tracer Gas||0.004″ channels
10-4 Pa m3/s
|Helium Tracer Gas||10-11 Pa m3/s||Nondestructive||ASTM F2391||Alcatel Vacuum Products Inficon
Leak Detection Associates
Varian Vacuum Products
|Helium must be incorporated into the headspace before sealing to be nondestructive. Helium can also be introduced post-manufacturing in which case this is a destructive test.
Can be used for 100% inspection.
|Acoustic Micro Imaging – wet||200Å||Nondestructive||–||Sonoscan||Can be used for 100% inspection.|
|Acoustic Micro Imaging – airborne||Very sensitive||Nondestructive||–||PTI||Can be used for 100% inspection.|
All tests should be validated and sensitivity verified.