Condoms undergo rigid tests before they are sold in the market. The series of testing are done by manufacturers to ensure that their products meet international standards and are able to do their job of protecting the wearers from sexually transmitted diseases and prevent pregnancy. They have to prove to consumers that their product is capable of protecting wearers to gain the trust of teens and adults including parents.
This popular contraceptive tool goes through several quality assurance tests in the factory. The main focus is on ensuring tensile strength or the strength of the latex product during stretching. Normally, random samples or whole batches of condoms are tested for breakage and leakage. A final test is also done before the products are delivered to the market.
The inflation test is the one that determines the stretching capability or the so-called tensile strength of the condom. During this process, the product is inflated to a specific volume. It is filled with about 40 liters of air which can be equal to nine gallons of water. If the condom bursts before that desired volume is reached, it does not pass the test.
Condoms are tested for leaks by filling them with water about 300 ml and then hanging them up for some time. While suspended on air for about three minutes, workers then check the product for leaks.
Another method used is rolling a condom filled with water on absorbent paper. If the paper gets wet, the rubber fails the test.
The leak test features the wet and dry mode and uses electricity. For the wet method, the condoms form an insulating layer on metal rods which are then dipped in a solution. If there are leaks, the computer detects them.
The dry method, meanwhile, uses more powerful electricity. As condoms on electrified metal rods are exposed to current, those with thin spots or holes normally melt or they get burned.
It should be noted that when a batch of condoms is being tested, even just one of them failing the test would mean the entire batch is also a failure and have to be discarded.
The worst that can happen to a condom when used during intercourse is slipping, breaking and leaking. It happens sometimes but fortunately, manufacturers worldwide have become more stringent in the testing aspect thus the reduced number of low quality condoms in the market today.