We received a customer inquiry about another unique use of one of our test strips. These types of questions are always intriguing, so we feel compelled to share them. This particular question is regarding our Ammonia 0-100ppm test strips.

“The information says the strip has two pads. One absorbs the dissolved ammonia and converts it to a gas, which the second pad registers. So, can the strip measure ammonia directly in the air?”

Great question. One that required a little experimentation on our part.

As it turns out, the answer is yes. It seems a wet strip can very quickly detect ammonia fumes in a qualitative fashion. Even a dry strip will react. However, as usual there is a little hiccup. Let us explain.

We took four Ammonia 0-100ppm test strips and performed the following experiment:

  1. One strip was used dry, as is.
  2. One strip was wetted with deionized water.
  3. The dry strip was held over ammonia fumes from a bottle of cleaner for just a few seconds.
  4. At the same time, the wetted strip was held over ammonia fumes from the same bottle of cleaner for just a few seconds, same as the dry strip.

ammonia test strips, ammonia gas detection in air, ammonia gas detection

Both strips reacted, however, you’ll see from the picture above that the dry strip turned more of a light green color, while the wetted strip turned a blue color. The colors are not the same, and you can see from the color chart, they are much darker.

We now present the hiccup. While the strips will work to detect ammonia in the air, the color chart is not calibrated for that application. Therefore, you won’t be able to determine the ppm level you have detected.

low level ammonia test strip, low level ammonia, ammonia

It is always important to take care when trying new uses for test strips. Experimentation, evaluation and checks are essential. Verifying that a strip will work with a new use is key, and a major part of strip accuracy is the color chart. In this instance, the new use of the strip does not work with the existing color chart, and therefore, it is not viable without new chart development.