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Salt Spray Test -- ASTM B117 Operational Problems

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A discussion started in 2003 but continuing through 2019

September 19, 2016

Q. Should the salt spray cabinet be in a controlled temperature room and not inside a warehouse where the temperature and humidity varies from season to season?

Raul delarosa
chemicals - Whittier, California USA

Adjustable racks?

November 16, 2016

Q. Has anyone used the adjustable angle panel rack available (ACC16/VARIABLE/450/1000/2000L) from Ascott? All of my salt fog panels have to run at 6-deg and I see a variety of panels thicknesses.

Wil Barwick
- Charleston South Carolina

November 16, 2016

Good day Wil.

What a novel idea about the rack.
The only problem I can foresee, is Nadcap salt panel separation requires "10 inch panels @ 6 degrees from the vertical shield approx. 1.0 inches", and "6 inch panels @ 15 degrees from the vertical shield approx. 1.6 inches".
I had my racks fabricated and designated to accommodate variations in panel thicknesses.
Some Nadcap auditors do go to EXTREME length to discover observations, minors, and the dreaded majors.


Eric Bogner, Lab. Tech
Aerotek Mfg. Ltd. - Whitby, Ontario, Canada


June 23, 2017

Q. I have a Q Fog CCT corrosion chamber, 600 and ever since I cleaned all of the lines and filters the collection rate has tripled (6 ml/hr). I am running ASTM B117 salt spray. Anyone ever have this issue? Could it be the spray nozzle itself is worn out? The cabinet is 10 years old

Sandy Mitchell
Employee - Louisville, Kentucky USA

July 8, 2017

Q. I'm having issues with the collected salinity level vs. the brine in the supply tank. I'm dead on 5% in my supply tank(use pre-mix solution), but my collection level is at 7%(out of spec per DO-160).
I had my pressure for the tower at 12psi & my collection rate was < 1 mL/hr, so I increased to 14 psi and now the salinity increased.

Been running the same test & settings for years, we do total PM's & cleaning prior to start. Just ran a test a few months ago setup was the same with no issues.

What are the affects of increasing/decreasing psi vs. collection salinity level?

Ray Horvath
Honeywell Aerospace - Tucson, Arizona, USA

July 31, 2017

Q. I run a SST in the labs where I work. The chamber drains to a floor drain.

Ever since we have had it, fog is escaping constantly from the floor drain.

It is either re-fogging in the drain and coming back out or it is just fog going down and out the chamber drain.

Basically salt gets everywhere if we leave our floor drain uncovered and if we cover it, then we get tons of back pressure issues.

Has anyone else had problems like this?


Kyle Schmitt
Caterpillar - Peoria, Illinois, USA

August 7, 2017

A. Hello all!

Sandy: I hope you solved this already, but if you haven't, I think the fog ejector may have some regulation (bigger or smaller drops, more or less salt water injection). If not, you may need to do it by modifying air pressure in the ejector.

Ray: Do you pre-humidify the air you inject? There is a saturation tower in almost every design of SST, so the air you inject is 100% relative humidity at 40 °C (it is my setting). You should verify this point! Let us know if you solved this!

Kyle: Does the chamber have a vent? If not, it is a design failure ... Almost every chamber I've seen has one to evacuate excess fog and balance pressures. You can drill a hole and put some pipes up to the roof, and it may serve you as well.

Hope you can solve your issues! Best regards!

Daniel Montanes
TEL - N FERRARIS - Canuelas, Buenos Aires, Argentina

August 8, 2017

Q. Daniel.

Thanks for the reply!

We do have roof venting. The company makes a power fan to assist ventilation and now we are going to run a wet bottom in the chamber.

So fog is being helped out vent to relieve pressure by fan and there is a water layer at bottom of chamber to prevent fog from leaking out drain tubes.


Kyle Schmitt [returning]
Caterpillar - Mossville, Illinois, USA

August 11, 2017

A. Hi Kyle,

Well, the water layer at the bottom must be at least above the drain pipe level so it prevents fog leakage through it.

Try to maintain this valve closed and open it only to drain when the liquid is too high. We have this valve open but it goes right into a big equalization wastewater tank for treatment, so we don't really see any fog here in the lab.

You mustn't have any problem with this, because the pressure must be relieved through the roof venting. If it isn't, then you have some obstruction in it.

Hope you solve this issue! Regards,

Daniel Montanes
TEL - N FERRARIS - Canuelas, Buenos Aires, Argentina

What if temperature was too low?

April 2, 2018

Q. Anyone know the effect of running B117 with a low cabinet temperature for a couple of days? Tower temperature was acceptable, resulting pH, and salt concentration were OK.
I am looking also for guidelines on the effect of parameters deviation from the standard.


Pascal Roussy
- Montreal, Quebec, Canada

April 2, 2018

A. There is NO way that you can certify any results from salt spray tests that were not run completely within the prescribed parameters. However as a rough rule of thumb that I find very useful, a chemical reaction will double in rate for every 10 degree Celsius increase in temperature. You can do the rest of the math for your specific situation.

Tom Rochester
Plating Systems & Technologies, Inc.  
supporting advertiser
Jackson, Michigan, USA
plating systems & technologies banner ad

April 5, 2018

A. Effect of unbalance ph level on salt spray test

Do you have salt spray and CASS test cabinet in same room, possibility pH down in your collector water.

Make sure your pH meter is calibrated and working condition.
Check any acidic fumes entering into the salt spray room or that area.

popat patel
Popat Patel
    Beacon Park Finishing LLC - Roseville, Michigan

Measuring pH ... and the temperature at which it's measured

April 12, 2018

Q. According to ASTM B117 [affil. link to spec at Techstreet] "the pH measurement shall be made at 23 ± 3°C. Do I need to wait for the temperature of the solution to go down to this temperature before I start testing for pH?

Moises Montemayor
- toronto canada

April 18, 2018

A. When you see the term "shall" in a spec, rather than "should", it is compulsory rather than suggested, and something that an auditor will follow up on. Not only must you wait until your sample has cooled to that temperature, but it's a good idea to have a column on your log sheet showing the actual temperature of the sample at the time of pH analysis, because everyone knows an auditor's favorite phrase: "Show me where you recorded that". :)

Rachel Mackintosh
Plating Solutions Control Specialist / Industrial Metals Waste Treatment - Brattleboro, Vermont

May 31, 2018

Q. We replaced our filter recently and were getting high pH value.

What should be the pH of the solution in the tank? What should be the pH of the distilled water?

Moises Montemayor [returning]
- Toronto, Canada

June 6, 2018

A. Hi Moises,
The pH of your solution before it enters the salt spray chamber should be close to the desired 6.5 - 7.2 pH measured out of the collection sample (example the pH of the solution is in the 6 - 7.5 pH range) if your collection sample has a dramatically higher pH by more than one point from your starting solution there is likely a leak / contamination from the sample run offs.

The pH of the distilled water is not a big issue as long as you're using Hydrochloric acid and Sodium Hydroxide to balance the pH of the solution. It would be good practice to record the pH and salinity of the solution every time you refill and compare it to the collection sample to better understand how the composition is changing as it goes through the test.

Erick Leong
Vapor Bus International - Buffalo Grove, Illinois, USA

June 21, 2018

Q. We have A144-500 Hydrochloric Acid (normality-12.1)

Can I use this to adjust my pH?

What will be the solution? Need Help how to make it 0.01N of HCl. Thanks.

Moises Montemayor [returning]
- toronto, Ontario Canada

June 26, 2018

Hello Mr. Montemayor,
The calculation for dilutions of solutions measured in Normality is the same as for any chemical solution measured in Molarity -- for monoprotic acids, these are equivalent values, and HCl is monoprotic so there's absolutely no way to get confused whilst doing it! :)
Here's a simple trick to set up your dilution equation:

Write out what you have, and what you are trying to get to, as a proportion, like this:

You have:        You want:
12.1 mol .01 mol __________ = ____________ 1L x L

First, MULTIPLY the diagonal values that contain the two known values.

1 x .01= .01

Next, DIVIDE by the diagonal value that is known.

.01 / 12.1 = .000826

To get your dilution factor, simply divide 1 by this result

1 / .000826 = 1210.6

Finally, verify your math:

12.1 / 1210.6= .009995 -Yup it works!

That means to make your .01N HCl from 12.1N HCl, you can put 1mL in 1210.6mL or 1.21L... or if you need a lot of it, you can put a litre in 1210.6L!

This may not be the way everyone would do a dilution calculation but I find that it is the absolute EASIEST way to remember.

Oh and MAKE SURE YOU USE ASTM-GRADE OR BETTER DEIONIZED WATER!!! Or you'll end up with who-all knows what molarity by time dissolved stuff in the water has finished interacting with the acid!
FYI you can buy .01N pre mixed HCl at lab supply houses, not sure if you have Grainger up there, but it is a lot more convenient! And comes with a certificate of analysis to keep those auditors happy.

Rachel Mackintosh
Plating Solutions Control Specialist / Industrial Metals Waste Treatment - Brattleboro, Vermont

Daily rinsing of parts while being Salt Sprayed per ASTM B-117?

July 22, 2018

Q. Hello
We run NSST tests in our salt spray chamber daily under ASTM B-117 for zinc and zinc-nickel plated finishes, and we review the parts every day (24 hrs) to check the status of each part and log the daily evaluation.
It is our procedure to clean the parts everyday by spraying clean DI water on them, so that we are able to have a good look for the corrosion situation. We understand this is specified in ASTM B-117.
Recently a client of us commented that this is not the proper method and we should not do this and that the parts have to rinsed ONLY after the test is over, let say 720 hours.
If this is the case, how can we have a closer look at the corrosion situation?

What is the normal inspection procedure?

Thank you for your help.


Sergio Hernandez
Plating Lab Technician - Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

July 23, 2018

A. Hi brother Sergio!

You should rinse only when the test is over, as your client advised you. We check the status every 24 hours with just a general look at the parts, and as "white corrosion" is hard to tell a "GO/NO GO", we just see if there is any spot where the base metal shows (this is a "white corrosion indicator") and in painted surfaces there is no white corrosion in general, only "white clouds" from the salt spray.

This is only for daily inspection procedures, and you should validate your inspection procedures with your clients (as it says you should in B 117). DIN EN ISO 9227 [affil. link to spec at Techstreet] is another standard, very similar to ASTM B 117, and just gives you another tools to measure your chamber aggressiveness.

I hope this clarifies your issue! Best of luck!

Daniel Montanes
TEL - N FERRARIS - Canuelas, Buenos Aires, Argentina

August 8, 2019

Q. Hi all. My name is Jenna and I am a chemist at a finishing company in Savannah, GA. I have a salt spray question. What is a good meter that can measure the temp, relative humidity and density all at the same time?

Jenna kitchings
- Savannah, Georgia USA

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