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MIL-STD 810 Contamination By Fluids Testing

The purpose of contamination by fluids testing is to determine if material is affected by temporary exposure to contaminating fluids. Method 504 is used when there is a high likelihood of fluid contamination during the life cycle of the material. Contamination may arise from exposure to fuels, solvents and cleaning fluids, de-icing and anti-freeze fluids, insecticides, fire extinguishants, etc.

This corrosive atmosphere test is not intended to determine if material can perform during continuous contact with a fluid. It should not be used to demonstrate resistance to electrolytic corrosion or corrosion due to human perspiration.

Keystone Compliance is a corrosion lab with significant experience in MIL-STD-810 contamination by fluids testing experience. Our test engineers have an in-depth knowledge of corrosion testing for commercial, military, and aerospace products. This knowledge is drawn from MIL-810 contamination by fluids, but includes MIL-810G contamination by fluids and MIL-810H contamination by fluids.

The following information is extremely technical in nature. It provides a summary of MIL STD-810, Method 504.3. Even though the language is from 810 resistance to solvents, it applies previous versions of the standard. This includes MIL-STD 810G contamination by fluids and MIL-STD 810H contamination by fluids.

How do you Select the Right Method for the Best Contamination by Fluids Testing?

Determine where exposure to contaminating fluids is foreseen in the life cycle of the test item. Then use the following to confirm the need for this Method and to place it in sequence with other methods. All testing should be done in a certified contamination by fluids laboratory.

What are the Effects of the Contaminating Fluids Environment?


Exposure to contaminating fluids may have adverse effects on the physical functions of material. The list is not intended to be all-inclusive and some of the examples may overlap. These effects may include:

  • Shattering of glass vials and optical material.
  • Binding or slackening of moving parts.
  • Cracking of solid pellets or grains in explosives.
  • Differential contraction or expansion rates or induced strain rates of dissimilar materials.
  • Deformation or fracture of components. (Solder reflow is the worst case.)
  • Cracking of surface coatings.
  • Seal or gasket failures (leaking of sealed compartments).
  • Failure of insulation protection.
  • Frosting on optical surfaces may cause corrosion on vulnerable surfaces.
  • Differential contraction or expansion rates or induced strain rates between surface and interior portions of thermally massive constructs.
  • Packaging failure.
  • Crazing or swelling of plastics and rubbers.
  • Adhesion failures (delamination).
  • Paint/legend removal.


Exposure to contaminating fluids may have adverse effects on the chemical structures of material. The list is not intended to be all-inclusive and some of the examples may overlap. These effects may include:

  • Separation of constituents.
  • Failure of chemical agent protection.
  • Leeching of antioxidants and other soluble materials.
  • Corrosion.
  • Melting or decomposition.


Exposure to contaminating fluids may have adverse effects on the electrical components of material. The list is not intended to be all-inclusive and some of the examples may overlap. These effects may include:

  • Changes in electrical and electronic components.
  • Electronic or mechanical failures due to rapid water or frost formation.
  • Excessive static electricity.
  • Interruption of electrical continuity (such as “grounding” fingers on EMI strips).
  • Increase in electrical resistance due to thermo-mechanical “fretting corrosion.”

How long should the Material Be Exposed to Contaminating Fluids During Solvents Resistance Testing?

There are three options: occasional exposure, intermittent exposure, and extended contamination. Determine the most appropriate exposure time based on the expected life cycle scenario. Also consider the order of application of the test fluids if more than one is required.

What are the Contaminant Fluid Groups?

This list of contaminant fluid groups is not all inclusive. Other fluids may be added as part of the test requirements for some contamination by fluids compliance tests.

General Chemical Test Fluids

Cleaning compound, solvent (rifle bore cleaner)Degreasing Solvent Naphtha or Stoddard, dry cleaning, or D-Limonene solvent
Engine OilLubricant, semi-fluid, automatic weapons
Lubricating oil, general purpose, preservative (water displacing, low temperature)Lubricant, cleaner, and preservative
Gasoline, commercial, or combatAviation Turbine fuels, kerosene types
Diesel Fuel (DL-1, DL-1, other Grades)Insect repellent, personal application
Dexron IIIAntifreeze, Multi-Engine Type, ethylene or propylene glycol (II)
WaterSimulated sea water or 5% NaCI
Decontaminating agent STBLubricating oil, weapons, low temperature
Hydraulic fluid, synthetic hydrocarbon base, aircraft, missile, & ordnance (OHA), others as indicated by test requirementsHydraulic fluid, rust inhibited, phosphate based synthetic hydrocarbon, fire-resistant
Hydraulic fluid, petroleum based for preservation and operation (OHT)DS-20 Decontaminating Agent
Lubricating Oils Synthetic, Aircraft turbine engines, transmissionsDe-icers, Anti-Icing
Silicone based damping fluid (various viscosities, cSts)Aircraft Cleaners, Aerospace, Ground Equipment/Aircraft Interior/Exterior
Other SolventsDeicing & antifreeze fluids
Runway deicersInsecticides
Disinfect (Heavy duty phenolics)Coolant dielectric fluid

There are several factors to be considered when deciding how to test a material with more than one test fluid. Firstly consider the need to assess the effect of the fluids individually, combined, or in succession. Understand the potential problem of identifying which fluid or combination of fluids affected the test item.

What Happens When More than One Test Fluid is Applied?

If the order of exposure to fluids in service is known, specify this order. If the order of exposure to fluids that have synergistic effects is known and is realistic in service, specify this order. Know if the same item should be cleaned and re-tested with a new fluid. Sometimes a new test item is to be used for each test fluid. If a test item needs cleaned between or after tests, do not use a cleaning fluid that results in further contamination.

What Contamination By Fluids Testing Lab Should You Trust?

Keystone Compliance has been recognized as one of the best contamination by fluids labs in the country. We employ the best test engineers, provided with high quality equipment. Keystone provides contamination by fluids certifications for commercial, military, and aerospace products. Contact us to learn why so many manufacturers rely on Keystone Compliance to meet their compliance testing needs.

There have been several versions of fluid contamination testing procedures in MIL-STD-810 Contamination by Fluids Testing. Below is a list of each version and the appropriate method number: