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Mechanical test facility (MTF)

Standard and bespoke testing of advanced materials

Our new, state-of-the-art Mechanical Test Facility (MTF) confirms NPL as the UK’s centre of excellence for materials assurance. The MTF is furnished with a comprehensive range of world-class mechanical test equipment from NPL’s partner Instron, to allow us to address the current, emerging and future requirements of research and industrial application.

This facility, combined with NPL’s extensive expertise in materials characterisation and assurance, provides a unique capability for research and commercial testing services covering a broad range of advanced materials such as composites, metals, ceramics, additive manufacturing and coatings.

We offer traceability to national standards and extremely accurate measurements over a wide range of loads and conditions. Our expertise in uncertainty measurement ensures industry can have confidence in our test results.

Underpinning virtual testing

Digitalisation of the MTF ensures that NPL is at the forefront of materials data analytics and uncertainty analysis that can support virtual product assurance, enable variable fidelity simulation and innovative analysis processes. This digitalisation of the laboratory supports Industry 4.0 through the development of cyber-physical platforms to reduce the number of physical test iterations for materials assurance.

Find out more about MTF testing equipment


Comprehensive test capabilities 

How materials perform is critical to the success of new and updated products. Industry needs to be sure that new materials will function in the way they expect and that any traditional materials used in new ways will not fail in service, even in extreme conditions.

NPL experts work with a comprehensive suite of mechanical tests, non-destructive evaluation, thermal analysis and modelling techniques to help clarify requirements, interpret results and solve problems for customers. Through this, we provide customers with detailed, independent analysis to accelerate development, increase both the performance and quality of products and identify the root cause for any failures in materials, products or structures.

As the UK's National Measurement Institute, you can be sure that everything we deliver will be trustworthy and impartial. We give businesses the increased confidence they need when evaluating and predicting the performance of their materials through the full life cycle.

Find out more about our testing capabilities

Strategic research to support industry

Our aim is to provide assurance for advanced engineering materials, with the focus on three material types and the underpinning physical measurement technologies.

Contact us


How our cutting-edge research can help your organisation

Aerospace            Automotive      Defence and security          

Energy and utilities    Environment        Food and agritech              

Healthcare          IT and telecoms          Life sciences                   

Manufacturing     Oil and gas                Space

Case study

Spatially measuring the conductivity of hydrogen technology materials


Case study

Validating alkaline water electrolyser performance & durability for OxfordNanoSystems OnS


Case study

Enabling automated disinfection with Fourth State's air plasma technology


Case study

Optimising diagnostic beads for improved antibiotic treatment


Case study

Validating the effectiveness of shielding and thermal paints at high temperatures and humidity


A new series of technical webinars

We provide technical webinars on advanced materials characterisation which you can watch from your desk.
Find out about upcoming webinars or view past webinars.

Advanced Engineering materials webinars 

Enhancing the composite materials regulatory infrastructure

The National Physical Laboratory has published a report which identifies a series of actions that will increase the UK’s competitiveness through greater uptake of composite materials

New Composites Standards & Certification training course

NPL presents a new two-day course aimed at those who wish to gain an understanding of the roles of composite materials standards and design codes and their use in the certification of composite structures. Register your interests today to join the course.

Composites Standards & Certification training

Work with us

Our research and measurement solutions support innovation and product development. We work with companies to deliver business advantage and commercial success.
Contact our Customer Services team on +44 20 8943 7070