Development of new test methods (Dr. Cornish)
Dr. Cornish is involved in ISO and ASTM and the development of new test methods. One such test method is an abrasion and/or durability test for medical gloves. This is pertinent because the glove standards were reduced to accommodate synthetic materials for Type I latex allergic patients. This is closely related to the natural rubber film projects already described. Current tests only require the initial properties of the gloves to meet the standards – with nothing to say if the glove will break after a few minutes of use. Initially we will develop mechanical hands which can fit latex gloves. These will be mechanized to (i) exert pressure in a rubbing motion against a surface at a normal human hand speed, and (ii) flex the hand very quickly to determine the number of flex cycles needed to cause glove failure. Once we are satisfied that the equipment can be made economically and reproducibly, we will conduct round robin tests at glove manufacturers and testing labs and then introduce one or two new standards to ASTM. These standards should eliminate the worst gloves currently being sold into the US market and increase patient and healthcare safety.