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MERL is changing to Element Hitchin

Following the acquisition of Materials Engineering Research Laboratory Limited (MERL) by Element Materials Technology in August 2012, we are pleased to announce that with effect from April 1, 2013 the MERL business will transfer to a new entity, Element Materials Technology Hitchin Limited (“Element Hitchin”).

As part of Element, all the resources and knowledge of MERL, the test facilities and staff will continue to provide the same services as before. However, in addition to the support of Element Hitchin, the full scope of Element's network of testing laboratories and experts are also available to our clients.

Element is a global network of laboratories with experts specialising in materials testing, product qualification testing and failure analysis for the Aerospace & Defence, Oil & Gas, Power Generation, and Transportation sectors. The team of 1100 scientists, engineers and technicians work in laboratories located throughout the U.S. and Europe. For complete Accreditations & Approvals and more information please visit www.Element.com.

Element Hitchin (MERL) have, over 25 years of trading, developed world-class expertise in elastomers, thermoplastics, composites and structural adhesives in diverse applications and industries (oil and gas, chemical processing, automotive, rail, renewable energy, marine, aerospace, medical, and more). Projects range from the reliability of materials in offshore oil and gas exploration, to the performance of a new polymer material for heart valves and the use of composite materials in military aircraft structures. The growth in the expertise of the people has been supported by the continued growth and expansion of testing and analytical capability in the various laboratories.


Element Hitchin/MERL is based in Hitchin (north of London, UK) and has an international client base with typically 70% of business coming from outside of UK from regions including North and South America, Europe, India, Middle East, Australia and China. A major part of the business is in managing single client projects on behalf of a loyal and expanding client base. Numerous consortium projects have also been performed that have generated invaluable data, methodologies, facilities and knowledge enabling us to develop world-class facilities and expertise that is available to clients across the world.


services include all aspects of polymer engineering including product development and testing, independent consultancy, mechanical testing, chemical and environmental exposure testing, advanced finite element analysis, inspections and audits, test equipment and instrumentation design.

industry sectors served by Element Hitchin/MERL include oil & gas, medical, aerospace, automotive, marine, rail, renewable energy, and civil engineering.

materials expertise covers elastomers (general engineering grades and specialised formulation), composites (carbon, glass and natural fibre reinforced), adhesives and thermoplastics.



Element Hitchin/MERL are involved in a range of current UK Government and EC funded projects - click below for some of the latest.

  • CQCC: Continuous Quality Control for Composites for the Next Generation Flexible Pipe
  • NDT2DT: New ICT Approach to Automate Non-destructive Testing and Inspections with Evaluation of Damage Tolerance in Composite Structures
  • GlaCERCo: Glass Ceramics Composites – An Initial Training Network
  • CEDESA: Centre of Excellence for the Design of Efficient and Safe Aircraft
  • WASIS: Composite Fuselage Section Wafer Design Approach for Safety Increasing in Worst Case Situations and Joints Minimizing
  • ESPOSA: Efficient Systems and Propulsion for Small Aircraft
  • LA WOCS: Laser Transmission Welding of Thermoplastic Composite Structures

news & events

Confidence in Composites, Materials World magazine, August, 2011
Dr Rod Martin and Dr Morris Roseman from Element Hitchin/MERL outline the essential functions being performed by composites in the oil and gas industry. Click here to see the full article

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT)
Within the wound care arena the understanding of the effects of Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) upon tissue and the processes of healing are still being developed. Optimization of the level of strain applied to the tissue to affect the healing process, without causing undue stress on the tissue and pain to the patient, remains a key clinical objective.

Element Hitchin/MERL have been working with ConvaTec (www.convatec.com) to provide additional understanding of the tissue strain forces applied by different NPWT tissue interface materials using 3-dimensional finite element analysis (FEA) models. The FEA models were used to assess the predicted levels of 3-dimensional strain applied to tissue by the dressing materials under different levels of applied negative pressure.

Click here to see the poster presented at the 2011 Symposium on Advanced Wound Care and Wound Healing Society meeting, April 14-17th 2011, Dallas, Texas, USA.

“Composites Grand Challenge” celebrates technical success and an inspirational year
A consortium of 22 companies from across British industry and led by GKN Aerospace, i-Composites, has concluded a unique one year challenge set by the Technology Strategy Board on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Called ‘The Composites Grand Challenge’, the programme required the companies to collaborate to progress innovations in vital composite manufacturing technologies.Click here for the full project press release.

Within the consortium Element Hitchin/MERL led a project that aimed to develop and validate a methodology for predicting the effect of delamination type manufacturing defects on the performance of composite material structures. Click here for further details.

The Ageing of Composites Book
Dr. Rod Martin from Element Hitchin/MERL has edited a book entitled "The Ageing of Composites" which was published by Woodhead Publishing Ltd in 2008. The book is a compilation of chapters from an international team of distinguished authors and is in three sections. The first section covers the fundamental aspects of characterising and modelling the physical and chemical ageing of composite materials. The second section addresses the ageing of composites in transport applications including rail, aerospace and marine. The third section addresses the ageing of composites in non-aerospace applications including the petrochemical industry and underwater applications. The book is available for purchase at www.woodheadpublishing.com.


© 2013 Element Hitchin. The registered company address of:
Element Materials Technology Hitchin Limited is 5 Fleet Place, London EC4M 7RD,
Registered in England. Company registration number: 08149114.

Tel: +44(0)1462 427 850
Polymer Engineering, Testing, Inspection, Research and Development, UK