The water break test

Brian Ellis (Mosfiloti, Cyprus)

Circuit World

ISSN: 0305-6120

Publication date: 1 December 2005



To discuss the validity of the water break test, commonly used as a means of cleanliness determination in the printed circuit fabrication industry.


To examine qualitatively the physics of water‐wetting of solid substrates and their energy levels and the conditions under which cohesion may occur.


It would seem that conditions could occur, which would render the likelihood of the test being valid problematic.

Practical implications

Technical managers of fabricators using the test may wish to re‐examine whether it is valid under their particular circumstances. If it were replaced by a more scientific test covering their particular needs, it is possible that the reliability of subsequent operations may be improved, increasing production yield.


The author previously cast doubts on the test validity but this is the first physical analysis of the situation, confirming prior statements. The value of this paper is to demonstrate that a long‐standing practice may be either meaningless or of significantly reduced usefulness.



Ellis, B. (2005), "The water break test", Circuit World, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 47-50.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.