The chemical testing services range from chemical textile testing and classic contaminant testing to emissions testing and sensory odour testing. With the existing equipment (emission chambers, headspace samplers, thermodesorbers, SPME fibres, odour laboratories with olfactory cases and receptacles) it is possible to carry out a wide range of qualitative and quantitative tests of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are then used for (new) product developments, product certifications, complaint management and training.
Since the 1990s, the ÖTI has been carrying out testing for these purposes, specialising in flooring systems and interior decor materials. The institute's experience has frequently been key to establishing national and international standards. For example, research findings by the ÖTI led to the creation of the world's first ever ÖNORM (Austrian standard) for sensory testing of the nature and intensity of indoor odours, together with a certification system to be used by sensory odour testers.
A further focus of the testing activity is the physical inspection of flooring and textiles, using a range of mechanical load tests, tensile tests and physiological skin tests. Also coming into play in this field is the skin simulator, which can be used to determine the water vapour resistance and thermal resistance of PPE (personal protective equipment) or functional sports clothing, thereby setting the criteria for optimum comfort.
In order to ascertain the suitability of floor coverings for day-to-day use, it is important to determine the coefficient of sliding friction by using a mobile device or an "inclined surface". During this test, secured testers, wearing standard shoes, walk on a floor covered with oil or water, and, by adjusting the floor's angle of inclination, the angle at which the tester slips or falls is determined. Classic load tests for floor coverings, such as the chair castor test, treadwheel testing and drum testing, have long been part of the ÖTI's range of services.
The ÖTI can also boast years of fire testing experience in the flooring and PPE (personal protective clothing) sector. In addition to classic tests, such as determining the fire classification of floor coverings using "radiant panels", testing devices developed in-house may also be used in some cases, primarily for PPE testing. These devices are also sold to other testing institutions.