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Tech Seconds with Phil Zarrow: Setting Up a Blind Solder Materials Comparison Study

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  • Question: What is the best way to set up a blind materials’ comparison test?
    Phil Zarrow: Blind testing of your soldering materials is very important, so as to eliminate bias towards a particular manufacturer or salesperson, things along those lines. 
    And the way this is done is:  
    Approximately a week or so before you're actually doing the testing, somebody totally unaffiliated with the test and the manufacturing process takes the samples—whether they're in a bottle, jars, cartridges—and assigns each of the different samples a letter. Writes out a letter in the corresponding sample, seals it up in an envelope, and puts it away. Go forward, you do your testing, and, at the end of the testing, you open up the envelope, and the winner is… 
    Very important thing, also, that in your testing, you will be using the material that you're currently using as one of the blind samples. And, it's very important you tell your printer operator to not to disclose, "I recognize this one. This is the one we're using now." Can't have that. And how will they recognize it? By the smell. Discretion is very, very important.