In addition to the day-to-day commercial testing and testing for the Health Service in Wales, SMTL is also involved in research and development work. This entails custom designing test methods to enable a new product's properties to be properly evaluated, and to enable comparative testing against similar products.

SMTL have developed dozens of test methods since the lab was set up in the 1970's. Many of these have gone on to be published as BP monographs, or BS/CEN standards.

The Laboratory is heavily involved with various working parties and standards committees in the UK and internationally, to develop, test and refine new methods of testing a variety of products. Details of some of the projects SMTL has undertaken are given below.

SMTL are continously seeking to develop new methods and update old ones as data becomes available and user requirements change.  

Working Parties

SMTL has been influential in developing new test methods through various UK working parties for the following product groups:

  1. Hydrocolloids
  2. Alginates
  3. Hydrogels
  4. Casting Materials
  5. Absorbency, Adherency and Moisture Vapour Transmission Rates (MVTR)
  6. Cohesive Bandages

Test Method Development

Test Methods developed at SMTL include:

  • methods to determine the force required to operate, and break, taps fitted to urine drainage bags.
  • a new method of investigating the fluid exchange in hydrogel dressings.
  • methods to investigate the gel blocking ability of alginate dressings, the amount that alginate fibres swelled, and a method of measuring residual alginate material left in a simulated wound after gelation.
  • methods to investigate the osmolality and friction properties of the hydrophilic coating of intermittent catheters
  • methods for testing and classifying bandages
  • methods for assessing the fluid handling performance of dressings (WRAP)
  • methods for assessing the efficiency of fluid warming devices


Within the laboratory, we have the technical knowledge and experience necessary to develop tests which can be used to assess useful and important characteristics of medical devices. This covers the whole procedure, from the initial R&D phase, through candidate method selection, through to validation.

If you have a device for which there is presently no accepted or standardised test method, please contact SMTL to discuss your requirements.

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