The latex testing process looks a little different for every project. The type of product, the goals of the testing, and the final use of the material all play a role in shaping the latex testing process. However, there are a few key steps that apply every time.
1. Determine Goals
The first step of the process is to determine the goals. This might start by asking questions: What are you hoping to achieve? Are you seeking to learn something, determine whether the compound is pure, or understand the performance attributes of the material? Are you aiming to demonstrate compatibility with the service environment or compliance with a regulatory standard? The desired outcome of the testing protocol plays an important role in designing the method.
2. Prepare Samples
The next step is sample preparation. Some latex testing methods are conducted on excised samples cut into specific shapes. Others are tested on very small pieces that go into tiny containers for extraction within a sophisticated instrument. Many sample preparation methods are best left to experienced professionals who can achieve the level of precision needed to ensure quality data.
3. Latex Testing
After sample preparation comes the latex testing process. Some latex testing can be conducted in house for the sake of R&D. But regulatory compliance testing is most often handled by testing professionals. That’s because many regulatory bodies only accept test results from independent, third-party laboratories. Many latex companies also choose to outsource testing to an external material testing laboratory because these labs are often equipped for a wide range of test methods, allowing companies to gather more types of data without having to purchase instrumentation and staff their own material testing laboratories.
4. Review Data
The final step is to review the data gathered during latex testing. The data review process allows companies to determine whether they found the answers they were looking for. Can you move forward with an existing design or make a confident decision about next steps? Do you need to make adjustments or go back to the drawing board entirely? Testing data can reveal critical information about what to do next, whether that’s revisiting a design, planning a product launch, or something in between.
Importance of Material Testing
There are several key functions of material testing for latex. Material testing can help you understand your material as well as its composite parts, which is especially important when working with a latex compound. Material testing also helps you understand how your latex material behaves in certain conditions, including its intended service environment. Lastly, material testing can be used to demonstrate compliance with regulatory standards, so you can take your product or material to market.
Learn more about the functions of material testing for latex:
Material Properties are Measured to Ensure Goals Are Met
The purpose of material properties testing for latex is to determine whether the material can withstand its service environment and perform as intended. For example, if a latex product will experience significant twisting and flexing while in service, the material may undergo testing to determine whether its elastic properties are sufficient for its intended function.
This testing may also be done to benchmark multiple latex materials against each other. To continue the above example, a company may choose to test several different latex materials to determine which option has material properties that most closely align with the application and service environment. Material properties testing allows companies to confidently choose the right latex material for a given application.
Latex materials may also be tested for durability. Even the mildest service environment can place stress on a material or product. Environmental conditioning testing is an excellent method for measuring a latex material’s ability to withstand a wide variety of conditions or stressors, including extreme temperatures or temperature swings, physical stressors such as pressure, vibration or abrasion, long-term exposure to certain fluids, and more. The test method can be designed around the variables that may be present in the latex material’s service environment and any stressors placed on the material itself.
Latex & Rubber Testing from ACE Laboratories
ACE Laboratories is proud to offer a full suite of premium testing services for rubber and latex materials. From material properties and environmental conditioning testing to sophisticated chemical analysis, we can help you understand every aspect of your latex product or material, so you can make confident product development decisions and launch new products you’re truly proud of. Our expert team can design a custom testing protocol based on your latex testing goals or conduct testing based on industry standards. We’ve designed our processes and procedures around modern, fast-paced production cycles, so you can count on ACE for the fastest turnaround times in the industry.
To learn more about ACE and our latex testing capabilities, talk to a member of our team >