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NCS and Chiralabs Ltd have joined forces to develop and provide an improved 'Oddy test' methodology, available for assessing the risk to heritage from products and materials used in buildings, display, conservation and storage.  The new test uses 21st century analytical technology and methodology to help you decide whether to use materials that might effect heritage objects or collections over time.  Named SMART testing - Spectro-Microscopic Analysis of Relative Tarnishing - the method involves monitoring of the surface chemistry of test coupons exposed to materials, using scanning electron microscopy energy dispersive spectroscopy, to determine quantitatively the degree and nature of tarnishing, degradation, corrosion and/or coating at an elemental and microscopic level.  Data is compared to reference materials to provide a relative risk factor of damage based on quantifiable, objective chemical measures rather than visual assessment.

Because we use energy dispersive spectroscopy to analyse the coupons, along with scanning electron microscopy rather than normal photography, the SMART test is precise, measurable and much more sensitive than the human eye, traditionally used with Oddy testing. Our standard test protocol is now for incubation to be carried out at 30degrees Celsius and 60% relative humidity (RH) for 14 days.  The SMART analysis is so sensitive that results can be recorded at these levels in this timescale.  Higher temperatures commonly used for traditional human eye inspection of traditional Oddy protocols, for example 60C, are likely to trigger reactions that would never occur in normal heritage storage and display contexts and distort the result, making it less comparable and introducing a level of inconsistency (different materials behave differently at higher temperatures).

If you are a heritage insitution or professional needing to assess whether or not a paint, coating, flooring, building material, box board or conservation product (new or old) might emit internal pollutants that cause deterioration to your archival, museum or art collections, we can carry out the new test and tell you what effect the material had on a proxy material, using either the common copper, silver and lead coupons (traditionaly used in Oddy testing) or a more complex test using four proxies: silver, copper, lead and iron (steel).  Silver can reveal the emmission of reduced sulphur compounds; copper can reveal oxides, chlorides and sulphur comounds; lead can reveal aldehydes, organic acids and acidic gases.  Specialist tests can also be applied for on request.  If you are a product supplier hoping to sell an archival or museum quality material into the heritage sector, we can test your material and give it a measured, evaluative 'scoring' based on the amount of change to the coupons.

Results can defined as being High, Medium or Low Risk to heritage and all results will be published on our website in due course.  Any decisions made by organisations on the basis of these test results are entirely at their own risk and neither NCS nor its testing partner Chrialabs Ltd will accept any liability for such decisions.

The price for a basic test with three proxies is £250.00 plus VAT for UK transactions, €300.00 (no VAT) for EU transactions, with payment made on application.  For four proxies the prices are £350.00 + VAT or 400.00.  Where an additional test is required using a single, fourth proxy where three have been used previously, the charge is £115 + VAT or €130.00.  Prices include the testing and a report of the result.  If you would like to apply to have a test carried out, please go to the following page and complete and submit the form.  We will contact you and arrange for you to send the sample to us and process your payment by invoice.  Once the test has been carried out we will send you the report.

Product Materials Testing Form