service2 About SMS Analytical

We are a small but growing independent consultancy based about 50 miles from London providing expert knowledge in many areas of chemistry and in particular for products such as engine oils, edible oils, petrol profiling, kerosene profiling, fire debris for accelerant detection, smoke taint contamination of fruit and vegetables as well as a wide range of materials using ASTM and other methods.

We take organisational quality seriously and are certified to ISO 9001:2015 by SGS.

Dr Sheila MarshmanDirector: Dr Sheila Marshman, BSc, PhD, FRSC
Sheila is the main technical lead and has advanced, in-depth, analytical experience having worked for Eli Lilly, MoD, DERA, QinetiQ, InterTek. Sheila’s specialist chemistry knowledge has been much in demand to testify as an expert witness in the UK, Far East and USA. Sheila’s publications include papers on fuel stability (12).
Mr Mark SimmonsDirector: Mr Mark Simmons, BSc, MBCS, MRSC
Mark is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and has held a variety of Analytical Chemistry jobs for companies such as Thames Water, Beechams (GSK) and BP Research where he gained experience of techniques including AA/AE, UV-VIS, IR, HPLC, GC-FID, XRD (powder diffraction) and GC-MS. As well as working on the many interesting cases undertaken by SMS he is also the company’s IT manager.

Detailed staff C.V.s are available on request.

service1 Our Customers

We have a wide variety of customers include forensic investigators, insurers, legal, marine and aviation industries. Typically, a case will be concerned with accidental damage and so the consequences of that action will often leave behind a chemical story to be discovered in the form of trace amounts of contaminants or accelerants etc. Other cases involve the accidental contamination of one chemical feedstock with another and then determining whether a component can then be separated economically.

We are sometimes asked to examine materials which are suspected to contain traces of controlled substances such as THC / Cannabis. Please refer to the our FAQs page so you are aware of what is allowed to be held and sent to us legally.


Being a small company we are unencumbered by the overheads and layers of administration often seen in larger companies and pride ourselves in delivering results in a timely manner whilst maintaining accuracy and quality. Regular communication with our customers on each job helps both optimise the work carried out as well as protecting their budget.

securityicon-61px Security

Upon receiving samples they are photographed and labelled and stored in a secure area until required. All job details, pictures and analytical data are logged to our secure private system that is isolated from the internet and securely backed-up on a regular basis. Samples are kept for 6 months and only destroyed once agreement is obtained from the customer. We use accredited waste management companies for chemical waste and we witness our confidential paper as it is commercially shredded.

Industry Areas We Investigate

shiploadingicon-61px Cargoes

For example, contamination of chemicals or other cargoes in transit can occur in a number of ways, from residual previous cargo, leaching of chemicals from tank coatings, water ingress, fire damage and taint from cargo or fuel vapours.

service5 Fire Debris

We look for traces of accelerants in the remains left from domestic and commercial fires. Often there are places such as beneath floorboards that still have residual organic residues. Samples are usually provided, sealed, in nylon bags to us.

Please take a look at our industries page for more details.

service3 Techniques & Methods

Techniques provided in-house include GCMS (for example Smoke Taint in food crops) , UV-VIS, Titrimetry (for example, Acid Numbers). Specification tests to determine trace level contamination include UV transmission tests, but these tests give little information on the type of contamination present. Further analysis using various chromatographic methods (GC-MS, LC, TLC) can identify contaminants and provide information on their origin.


Aged Petrol Characterisation by GCMS

We also have recently negotiated access to local SEM facilities, including elemental profiling of very small areas via EDX.

Please take a look at our analysis techniques page for more details.

report-icon-61px Reporting

Reporting is a key function we provide. Typically some analysis work we will do in-house and, in the case of very specialised techniques, others may be contracted out but making sense of all the combined data is what we deliver in the form of our client reports.

tickicon-61px Quality

Being a small company, our customers have satisfied themselves that we are able to perform the various tests they need to the standard expected and are welcome to check our results against standard reference materials as well as inspect our business processes. Since 2015  SMS Analytical Ltd has been audited by SGS ISO9001 Audit and is currently certified to ISO9001:2015. For more information please click the logo at top right of this website which links to SGS’s own certificate checking service.

moneyicon-61px Our Fees

As well as being a small and agile company you will find that our fees are very competitive and we can offer rate reductions for 5 or more samples. Please call to discuss your testing needs. All enquiries will be treated in strictest confidence. Rapid turn-around analysis service is available*. For some smaller jobs we also accept PayPal. Click here for more details.

*subject to availability of staff and equipment

SMS Analytical’s terms and conditions are shown here.

Please check the links in the footer of this website for legal and GDPR related matters.