ASTM D3078 Bubble Emission Laboratory Testing

ASTM D3078 Leaks in Flexible Packaging by Bubble Emission

ASTM D3078 flexible package testing determines gross leaks in packages containing a headspace gas. As an ISTA and ISO 17025 certified lab, we realize the importance of bubble emission testing. Meeting the ASTM D3078 requirements can be difficult. We understand the challenges and guide companies through the process.

Keystone provides the peace of mind that all of your needs will be met. In addition, Keystone Package Testing creates an accurate test plan to eliminate expensive over-testing. We take a consultative approach throughout the entire test program. Lastly, Keystone takes pride in partnering with customers to achieve package compliance. 

Request a quote to receive testing services customized to your specific needs. Contact us to receive more information on ASTM D3078 flexible package testing.

Summary of ASTM D3078 Bubble Emission Packaging Information

ASTM D3078 covers gross leaks in flexible packaging containing a headspace gas. Test sensitivity is limited to 1×10-5 atm cm3/s or less. Small leaks may not be detected by this procedure. However, the size of the leak is dependent on the products contained, the nature of the packaging material, and the test parameters selected.

The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. Additionally, the values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units provided only for information and are not considered standard.

The number of specimens used in the test sample may vary according to the product’s nature. It may also depend on cost, size, and whether the specimens are taken from a production line. Conditioning for this test method covers the test sample and test fluid at equilibrium with normal room temperature.

Why is ASTM 3078 Bubble Emission Testing Important?

ASTM F3078 bubble emission testing is an essential tool in the quality control process for flexible packaging. It ensures that packages meet industry standards, regulatory requirements, and consumer expectations for product safety and reliability. Manufacturers who employ this testing method can enhance their competitiveness in the market and demonstrate their commitment to delivering safe and high-quality products.

Package Integrity Assessment

ASTM F3078 is used to evaluate the integrity of flexible packages by detecting and quantifying leaks or weak seals. It helps identify any potential defects in the packaging that could compromise the product’s safety and quality.

Quality Assurance

By subjecting packages to bubble emission testing, manufacturers can ensure that their packaging processes are consistent and produce reliable results. It allows for early detection and correction of any issues in the packaging, leading to improved overall product quality.

Regulatory Compliance

Many industries, such as food, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices, have strict regulations governing packaging integrity. Compliance with these regulations is crucial to ensure product safety and meet legal requirements. ASTM F3078 provides a standardized method for package testing, making it easier for manufacturers to demonstrate compliance.

Shelf Life and Product Protection

Leaks or inadequate seals in flexible packages can lead to contamination, spoilage, or degradation of the product over time. Bubble emission testing helps to identify potential issues that may affect the product’s shelf life, allowing manufacturers to make necessary improvements to package design or materials.

Cost Savings

Identifying and resolving packaging defects early in the production process can save costs associated with product recalls, rework, and waste. ASTM F3078 enables manufacturers to detect issues before products reach the market, reducing the risk of financial losses and negative impacts on the brand’s reputation.

Consumer Safety

Bubble emission testing contributes to ensuring that consumers receive products that are safe and free from potential hazards. Properly sealed packages help prevent the entry of contaminants, pathogens, or foreign substances that could harm consumers.

ASTM D3078 Bubble Emission Testing Procedures

The ASTM D3078 procedure consists of the specimen being submerged in the fluid contained in the vessel within the vacuum chamber. The cover is then set on the vacuum chamber. Next, the test procedure involves turning on the vacuum so that the gage rises slowly. Limiting factors include package fragility, the degree of package expansion, and the test-fluid vapor pressure.

The submerged specimen is then observed for leakage in the form of a steady progression of bubbles from the flexible container. Isolated bubbles caused by entrapped air are not considered a leak. The ASTM D3078 package testing protocol states that increased package volume must be noted. 

The pressure differential of the test is inversely related to the volume increase of the sample. Therefore, large volume increases significantly detract from the test severity. Flexible packaging with little to no headspace can not be reliably evaluated with this ASTM D3078 test method.

Lastly, the vacuum is held for a specified amount of time. 30 seconds is normally recommended. The vacuum is then released, the lid is removed, and the test specimen is examined for the presence of fluid.

If there are bubbles present to leak in a specimen during the rise of vacuum, or when held at full vacuum, the specimen has failed the test.

This standard test method includes a report with general and specific information. General information includes the date, time, location, and test engineer. Specific information in the report may include the period held at maximum vacuum. Other specific information encompassed in the report is the identification of the specimen and material tested.

Expert ASTM D3078 Package Testing

Keystone Package Testing can accommodate flexible and rigid packages of all sizes, including large pallets. In addition to ASTM D3078 performance testing, Keystone has a full scope of expertise including accelerated aging, cold chain, and leak penetration. We have a full lab of test equipment which permits us to provide short lead times on scheduling. 

Contact us to learn firsthand why so many companies partner with Keystone to achieve their ASTM D3078 package certification needs.


For more referenced ASTM standards and similar testing, please follow the links below:

  • ASTM E425 Definitions of Terms Relating to Leak Testing (With-drawn 1991)
  • ASTM E515 Practice for Leaks Using Bubble Emission Techniques
  • ASTM F98 Recommended Practice for Determining Hermeticity of Electron Devices by a Bubble Test


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