(Artificial) Sweatin’ to the Oldies
While walking through the R&D facilities at HZO, there is always something eye catching. Recently, a stroll through its corridors revealed a large Tupperware container labeled, “Artificial Sweat 1/8/2015 5PM”. This prompted a quick picture taken from my smartphone as a reminder to learn more later. A few weeks passed by and I asked one of our engineers to enlighten me on the curious subject of artificial sweat.
As companies come to HZO with lethal sweat woes, we have engineered a perspiration testing procedure to simulate the effects of sweat on electronics and determine a robust solution for their product. This begins it, yup, artificial sweat.
Why artificial sweat? For the reasons you may guess: quantity and standardization. Artificial sweat can be mass produced by combining simple chemical ingredients without the need to tap into the pores of other humans (we’re not interested in running a sweat shop). A simple mix of 0.5% NaCl, 0.1% urea, 0.1% lactic acid (stay with me) and the pH adjusted to 6.6 with NH4OH is one method of creating artificial sweat. In fact, that recipe is an ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Standard that helps keep institutions consistent in their testing and results. Sweat recipes may vary however, according to the needs and availability of ingredients. Recipes may even vary from country to country.
As you may or may not be aware, sweat, like water, is a huge enemy of electronics. More so in fact than a typical fresh water dunk due to the presence of salt and other contaminates which wreak havoc with circuitry. Products can and do fail due to sweat exposure and many manufacturers is are interested in how they can combat this salty foe. I, myself have been a victim of my own sweaty pores by frying the remote on my Apple ear buds while exercising at the gym. As headphones, wearables, heart rate monitors and other typical exercise gadgets become more prevalent, designers are finding that mechanical seals and gaskets can’t eliminate the corrosive substance.
When you think of damage caused by perspiration, you think of small sweat droplets running over and into a product’s circuitry. HZO goes the extra mile in simulation by submerging the device in question in the artificial sweat mixture, sometimes up to 30 minutes. This ensures that the common culprits of drops or splashes will have no effect if it is able to survive complete submersion.
Are you a manufacturer who is having problems with short circuiting and corrosion from perspiration? HZO can take care of you. No sweat.
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