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Detecting water in solvents, petrol or in building maintenance – Waterfinder or Watesmo?

28 April 2016

Macherey Nagel have added a new test paper to their range – the Waterfinder test paper detects the presence of water with a clear, visible colour change.

The principle of the test is very similar to their existing Watesmo test paper – so how can you choose which is best for your application?

Water Detection Tests

Both the Watesmo and the Waterfinder test papers by Macherey Nagel show the presence of water by a colour change.

In both products the colour change is irreversible – even after the test paper has dried out again, the colour change remains, for long term proof.


The simple and fast checks can be used in a range of applications;

Building maintenance – to detect leaks in pipes or condensation on surfaces
Quality control – to see if sensitive products such as electronics have had any water contamination
Laboratories – to check that organic solvents are anhydrous, or that gas streams do not contain water vapour, before starting water sensitive reactions

Selecting a Test

Although the range of applications is very similar over the two test papers, there are subtle differences which should help in selecting which one to use;

Waterfinder – clear colour change, even when dried
The white to pink colour change of Waterfinder is more obvious, particularly after the paper has dried. Watesmo changes from light blue to dark blue, which does stay after drying but is less obvious.

If you are retaining the dried paper for later proof, choose the Waterfinder paper.

Watesmo – more sensitive to water in polar organic solvents
For most applications either paper can be chosen, but Watesmo has higher sensitivity to water contamination of non-polar organic solvents, e.g. iso-propanol
If you are mainly using the paper for solvent checks, choose the Watesmo paper

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