What is a Rubber Testing Laboratory?
Laboratories are common facilities across many settings and industries. The purpose of a laboratory is to provide controlled conditions for scientific research, experiments, measurement, and testing. In the case of rubber testing labs, like the one at ACE Laboratories, the rubber testing laboratory uses state of the art test equipment to conduct polymer testing for natural rubber, synthetic rubber, and other materials.
A rubber testing lab can perform both chemical tests and physical tests, depending on the goal of testing. Whether you are testing a material for research and development, quality control, or to meet industry standards, high quality polymer testing services performed by experienced, knowledgeable professionals ensures excellent results.
What services do rubber testing labs offer?
Rubber testing laboratories, including polymer testing laboratories and elastomer testing laboratories, offer a broad range of services for rubber products. At ACE, we are experts in designing custom plans to fit your unique goals. Working with us, your material will be tested using a variety of analytical and physical testing methods to create a comprehensive analysis and understanding of its properties. Below, you will find descriptions of some of our rubber testing methods and rubber testing instruments.
Analytical Rubber Testing Methods
Analytical testing describes a wide range of analytical techniques used to examine the chemical makeup and chemical characteristics of your rubber sample. ACE’s analytical testing methods include the following:
- Liquid Chromatography: We use liquid chromatography, or High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), to quantitatively or qualitatively detect a wide range of analytes in a solution. We recommend HPLC when a sample’s purity content is important, like for accelerators and silanes.
- Electron Microscopy: Our Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) performs electron microscopy. The SEM produces a high-resolution image, which allows us to observe the sample with emphasis on depth and structure. This allows us to analyze materials qualitatively, quantitatively, and by thickness.
- Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA): Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) is used for a broad variety of purposes, such as quality control and material screening. ACE employs research-grade TGA equipment to deliver consistent results with a quick turnaround. TGA allows you to understand the composition of your material–an important foundation for quality control issues and problem-solving. Use TGA for compositional analysis, to compare your sample to another known material. The TGA works through a thermogravimetric technique to analyze your material’s composition. From there, organics, like oils and polymers, and carbon black and ash can be identified in your rubber compound. To determine amounts of some specific compounds, specifically plasticizer or oil, ASTM D297 will be more appropriate.
- X-Ray Fluorescence Analyzer: The X-Ray Fluorescence Analyzer (XRF) screens your sample or product for a variety of elemental compositions, including include heavy metal. Heavy metal levels are often important when looking to meet compliance standards, making the XRF an important test method. In fact, it is the most common method used for seeking RoHS compliance. It is also commonly used when looking to meet Prop 65 and lead paint requirements. The XRF is highly convenient in its ability to test finished goods as well as samples due to its non-destructive nature.
Physical Rubber Testing Instruments
A physical test is any test that measure the physical characteristics of a material–in this case, rubbers and polymers. Physical characteristics tested can include strength, flexibility, specific gravity, density, and more. ACE’s physical testing methods include the following:
- Adhesion Tests: adhesion testing is important when ensuring the functioning of materials that will interact with coatings, adhesives, and bonds.
- One adhesion test method is ASTM D1329, a cold testing method. It quickly and consistently evaluates the viscoelastic properties of rubber and the effects of crystallization at low temperature. We recommend this testing for any product that will need to maintain its adhesive strength and flexibility at low temperatures. After testing, you will receive data and recommendations related to your product’s low-temperature compression set and brittleness points.
- ASTM D746 and ASTM D2137 are used for research and development purposes and compliance testing. These tests also examine the low-temperature flexibility of your sample material, this time through impact. For research and development purposes, these tests determine the lowest temperature at which your sample can be expected to perform. Compliance testing consists of a simple “Pass/Fail” test at a given temperature.
- Tension testing: tension testing evaluates the tensile properties of thermoplastic elastomers and vulcanized thermoset rubbers. When looking to meet industrial standards, testing the tensile properties of rubber is extremely important. Testing these properties is one of the simplest yet most vital ways to determine whether or not a material is ready for its end application.
- ASTM D412 tests all commonly referenced tensile and elongation properties, such as yield strength and rebound resistance. It can also test several other areas, including Tensile Set.
- The rubber process analyzer (RPA) reveals valuable data, whether the sample is a raw or compounded material. The RPA tests both pre-vulcanization and post-cure characteristics. Test methods include ASTM D6204 and ASTM D6601.
- Rebound resilience tests include ASTM D7121 and ASTM D2632. One is a pendulum-style test, the other is vertical.
- Specific Gravity Testing: specific gravity testing helps determine density. Since plastics are typically sold at a cost-per-pound price, a lower density—or lower specific gravity—means there will be more volume of material per pound.
- With ASTM D297, ACE can identify which rubber polymers that are present in your rubber product using a hydrostatic method to determine specific gravity. Knowledge about your material’s specific gravity is useful when comparing materials, whether to concrete properties or theoretical properties.
- Electrical testing: electrical testing is useful for any material that will encounter electrical charges–insulators and wire cables, for example. To determine if electricity can move safely through and across your material’s surfaces, we must understand the way it interacts with an electrical charge.
- ASTM D991 predicts the safety, static change, and current transmission of a material in application.
- ASTM D257 quickly checks your material’s volume resistivity and surface conductivity by using a closed ring system.
Custom-Designed Rubber Testing with ACE
ACE Laboratories offers a broad range of rubber testing services. It’s our mission to design the best course of action for your material, so you can make bold new innovations and offer your product with confidence. Contact us today and tell us your goals. We’ll make it our priority to meet them.
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