What Is Synthetic Sea Water?

by Jessica Clifton

Synthetic sea water is also known as artificial sea water (ASW) and substitute ocean water, and is mainly used to simulate ‘real’ sea water.

What Is Synthetic Sea Water?

Synthetic sea water is a mixture of water, mineral salts and sometimes vitamins. Different combinations of minerals and vitamins can be used to create synthetic sea water, but largely it contains a combination of:

  • Sodium chloride
  • Sodium sulfate
  • Potassium chloride
  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • Potassium bromide
  • Boric acid
  • Sodium fluoride
  • Magnesium chloride
  • Calcium chloride
  • Strontium chloride


Uses Of Synthetic Sea Water

What is synthetic sea water?

Laboratory grade synthetic sea water has a variety of uses, including chemical processing, corrosion studies, lab analysis and testing, research and development, and to calibrate ocean instruments. It is also used to make synthetic salts.

Synthetic sea water is also used to test the resistance of a substance from sea water…without having to go near the ocean to do it. Substances commonly tested in this way include protective coatings, paints, metals and plastics.

Synthetic sea water also has applications in marine biology and in reef and marine aquariums. It allows marine organisms such as algae, plants and animals to survive.

Benefits Of Synthetic Sea Water

Synthetic sea water has a variety of benefits over using ‘real’ sea water:

  • It is reproducible – it can be replicated over and over
  • It is made to a standardised formula so the product is always the same
  • You always know the ingredients of synthetic sea water
  • It is clean and contaminant-free


Is Synthetic Sea Water The Same As ‘Real’ Sea Water?

The short answer is no! This is for several reasons. It is not possible to produce sea water that is exactly the same as ‘real’ sea water because the exact salts, their weights and quantities in sea water are not specifically known. There are also contaminants such as pollutants and detritus in sea water which you wouldn’t want to replicate in synthetic sea water.

At ReAgent, we manufacture Synthetic Sea Water (ASTM D1141-98) – laboratory grade synthetic sea water which doesn’t contain contaminants! Contact our team today if you need to discuss your synthetic sea water requirements.


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