Outsourcing rubber testing to an accredited rubber lab is a great way to streamline your processes and boost the credibility of your materials and products. But what does the rubber testing process look like?
The lab testing process for rubber begins with a conversation. A member of the ACE Laboratories team will talk to you about what you need and what you’re hoping to achieve. Your rubber testing goals may be fairly straightforward, such as an ASTM or other standard test protocol, or you may need a custom rubber testing program designed for your specific needs.
Once we’ve determined a testing plan, the next step in the rubber testing process is to procure and prepare test samples. If you’re testing new materials, then samples can be extracted from parts. If you’re looking to test material from a product that has been recovered from field service, then samples will need to be excised from the product itself. ACE Laboratories offers on-site sample prep, so once you send us your products or materials, we’ll handle the rest. We have the tools to cut samples from whole products as well as production material.
The rubber testing process will be a little different for every project. However, there are a few things you can always count on when you trust ACE Laboratories with your testing:
- All testing is conducted by an experienced engineer, chemist, or technician. Everyone on our team has a strong background in the rubber industry and understands the nuances of laboratory testing.
- All testing is conducted in an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory. ACE Laboratories is accredited to conduct testing to a wide variety of ASTM standards and proprietary methods.
Your involvement throughout the process will differ based on your needs and the scope of the project. You might be totally hands off so you can focus your energy elsewhere. We might have regular meetings to keep you updated. You might even visit our testing lab in Ravenna, Ohio, 20 minutes outside of Akron.
The lab testing process also varies depending on the type of properties and data you’re seeking to measure.
Rubber Physical Testing
The purpose of physical testing is to measure and predicate how a rubber product or material will respond to its service environment, especially environmental factors and physical forces. Physical testing can be conducted on whole products or prepared samples.
Environmental resistance testing is conducted by recreating environmental conditions in a rubber testing lab. It’s also possible to do environmental testing in the field, but field testing simply cannot yield objective, repeatable data. In a controlled laboratory environment, all variables can be changed, measured, and recorded, which means more valuable, accurate data. Environmental resistance testing can include cold testing, fluid and heat aging, and ozone exposure.
Physical property testing for rubber covers a wide range of testing methods designed to measure how a rubber material responds to physical forces. This type of testing can help you understand how your rubber material or product will perform in service and possibly predict its lifespan. Common examples include abrasion testing, compression testing, flex fatigue, and tear resistance. Some varieties of physical testing are also referred to as rubber mechanical testing.
Analytical Testing of Rubber
Analytical testing, also called chemical testing, refers to analyses of rubber materials at the chemical level. Analytical techniques include chromatography, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR), Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) analysis, and wet chemistry.
While analytical testing plays an important role in regulatory and compliance testing, analytical methods can also be incredibly valuable as investigative tools. ACE Laboratories often conducts rubber analytical testing for:
- Detection and identification of a particular substance or element within a rubber compound or material for environmental compliance and other concerns
- Reverse engineering a product or material by identifying and quantifying individual ingredients to deliver a compositional analysis
- Root cause analysis of a rubber product issue or failure
- Benchmarking different products or materials against each other
Rubber Manufacturing Testing
Rubber may also be tested for processing. Laboratory testing data can be used to predict how a particular rubber material or compound may behave in a manufacturing or processing environment. ACE Laboratories offers a variety of rubber processing services, including:
- Extrusion flow analysis
- Mixing processability
- Mold flow analysis
Rubber Testing Results and Report
For every test we conduct for a client, we prepare a comprehensive, useful report. Your report will include all the data gathered during the lab testing process. Depending on the type of rubber testing you requested, your report may also include graphics and images of test samples.
In some cases, your report will contain everything you need to know about the rubber tests we conducted for you. If you sought testing for the sole purpose of demonstrating regulatory compliance to a customer or governing body, your test report from ACE Laboratories should be sufficient for that as well. ACE is an ANAB ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory, which means our testing results are all but universally accepted.
But if your rubber testing program was complex or we discovered something especially noteworthy, additional consultative support might be valuable. In this case, you’ll have a chance to speak directly with a rubber testing expert about the data in your report. Our experts will share what they observed during testing and their suggestions and guidance for next steps. You can also ask questions about your rubber testing program and your report.
Testing with ACE Laboratories
ACE Laboratories is proud to deliver the fastest turnaround times in the industry. We strive for maximum efficiency in our rubber testing lab and provide prompt testing data so our customers can stick to their timelines. Our rubber testing lab runs on cutting-edge LIMS software to ensure traceable results and nimble operations. Whether you’re looking to check the box on an industry standard or solve a tough product development challenge, the team at ACE can help you hit your targets and keep ahead of your competitors.
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