The Boeing Dreamliner comprises over 50 percent fiber-reinforced composites and interest in composites is steadily increasing, even in industries outside the aerospace industry. As a result of this growth, the demand for testing is also continually increasing. In order to meet the increased demand and requirements in the future, the British testing laboratory R-Tech Materials opted for a composites testing machine from ZwickRoell.
Test methods specially developed for each type of loading are used to characterize the mechanical properties of fiber-reinforced composites. Depending on the fiber structure, various forms of tensile, compression, flexure and shear tests are used. The properties of the matrix, fibers, texture, fiber-matrix bond, unidirectional laminate and multi-directional laminate are measured, as well as those of the component and the assembly. ZwickRoell offers a modular test machine design up to 250 kN for this purpose, which R-Tech Materials selected.
In addition to the international standards (ISO), these tests are described in various national and regional standards (ASTM, EN, and DIN), as well as in company standards (Airbus AITM, and Boeing BSS). This results in a test scope of more than 170 standards describing approximately 20 generic test methods. The testing machines from ZwickRoell have a modular connection system that allows for quick conversion of setups for different tools and sensors. Therefore, even a 250 kN testing machine can be easily reconfigured as needed for various types of testing and can perform 21 different tests according to approximately 115 standards.
In addition to the usual tensile tests these include FHT, OHT, end-loading compression tests, FHC, OHC, overlapping shear, Iosipescu shear, V-notch shear, in-plane shear tests (IPS), SBS and ILSS, three and four-point flexure tests and fracture mechanics investigations. An optional temperature chamber allows tests to be performed in a temperature range of -80 °C to +250 °C.
"We are impressed with our new testing machine that has not only improved our testing capabilities, but has also increased our capacity. Our investment in state-of-the-art equipment and developing a highly qualified team of engineers, materials science experts and chemists have contributed to solidifying our reputation as one of the fastest growing composites testing laboratories in Great Britain," remarks Dr. Geraint Harvard, Composites Manager at R-TECH.
In addition to the mechanical and electrical components, testing software plays a vital role in the composites field. In testXpert III, all of the above-mentioned standard tests already have fully-configured standard test programs that have been industry-tested available to them, making it easier to get started and ensuring a standard-compliant test sequence. All the required results algorithms are still fully integrated. Additional customized requirements, such as strain gauge connection, alignment, or visually monitoring the specimen behavior during a test, can be implemented individually. The workflow is consistent with lab processes and guides the operator throughout the entire process, from test preparation to performance to results analysis.
Customer Case R-Tech Materials