MATCO has accumulated decades of testing experience with a broad range of materials. Testing usually involves subjecting the client’s material to some special environment. This can include a pre-determined mechanical stress, perhaps applied repetitively to monitor the development of fatigue failure. The chemistry of the environment will probably be controlled, including perhaps cyclic wetting and drying, possibly including also exposure to pH extremes. Other exposure conditions include the typical salt-spray environments for testing paints, other coatings and metals.
A special skill-set of MATCO’s NACE certified corrosion technicians includes the applications of electro-chemical principles to corrosion testing. This involves the measurement and recording of minute flows of current in metal samples, indicating to what degree corrosion is taking place and driving that corrosion forward or backward. This can be used to measure extremely thin oxide coatings and to determine the local tendencies of the materials to corrode.
MATCO has constructed a controlled atmosphere chamber in which minute concentrations of mixed flowing gases (MFG) can be made to bath the samples to mimic atmospheric conditions in operating environments. This “mixed flowing gas” system is almost unique among independent testing labs.
As an example of the range of tests applied to client projects, a major national pharmaceutical firm recently asked MATCO to compare the durability of the label materials supplied to them by eleven different manufacturers. One might expect some uniformity of such products, but the client wanted to rank them. MATCO devised a series of tests to determine the durability/resistance of the materials to pure heat (as in the glove compartment of your car), heat plus moisture (as in your bath room under a heat lamp), UV radiation (as on the dashboard of your car) and in contact with atmospheric pollutants (perhaps beneath your bathroom sink).
In addition, all the products were tested in resistance to nine common bathroom chemicals. The results of these stiff tests were most interesting: no one of the label products performed outstandingly in all areas. Each fell down in one or more areas. However, a weighted ranking was created so that the client could return to their suppliers and show them where they could improve their performance.
This story is typical of many in which no industry standard tests exist and MATCO has to create a protocol agreeable to the client, then build the equipment to perform the tests.