All the equipment used in healthcare settings play a vital role in delivering care for patients. These include hospital beds, trolleys, armchairs, critical care medical devices and other devices such as interactive screens, portable tables or laptops that are used to make notes and monitor patients’ health. Inevitably, this equipment and devices will become contaminated with a variety of harmful microorganisms and serve as vectors of transmission. Therefore, they must be manually cleaned using chemical disinfectants and detergents followed by the use of modern decontamination technologies such as hydrogen peroxide vapour and UV-C light.
We understand how important it is for any type of equipment or device used in a healthcare environment to maintain its properties after continued exposure to manual cleaning and automated decontamination processes. Disinfectants and cleaning agents applied as liquids, sprays and vapours may cause chemical damage, and changes in appearance and physical properties, of materials they contact.
At Test Labs we can measure the effect of disinfectants and cleaners applied by different methods, on substrates such as metals, plastics, elastomers, textiles, and coatings. Changes in appearance may be immediately noticeable, and various instruments may be used to quantify these changes by measuring whiteness, gloss, and opacity.
Changes in physical properties are sometimes less noticeable but are important where damage to components causes equipment to malfunction, and changes in a surface coating, resulting in loss of its protective effect. The physical strength and elasticity of plastics and rubbers are measured using a tensile tester, and changes in the surface of polymers and coatings are evaluated by measuring the hardness. Corrosion testing of metals determined the long-term effect of exposure to liquids. Chemical changes in the surfaces of materials are evaluated using an infra-red spectrometer equipped with ATR.
Our Materials testing capabilities include
Tensile strength: Tensile testing of plastics, elastomers and textiles, measures changes in the physical strength and elasticity of polymers exposed to liquids vapours and sprays of disinfectants and cleaning detergents. Tensile strength, elasticity, bending and tear strength may be measured.
Corrosion: Corrosion testing of the effects of liquid cleaning agents and disinfectants on various metals. In atypical test materials are weighed before and after dipping for a set period of time and the long term corrosion effects are calculated.
Infra-red analysis by FTIR to study the effect of chemical changes in the surface of plastics polymers and coatings.
Hardness testing of elastomers, plastics, and coatings to measure the effect of long-term exposure to sprays, vapours and liquid disinfectants and cleaning agents.
Changes in appearance of plastics and coatings evaluated using instruments for measuring changes in gloss, transparency, opacity and whiteness.