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Several aircraft suppliers rely on creep testers from ZwickRoell to prevent potential safety risks arising from hydrogen embrittlement in aircraft parts

Tomorrow’s aircraft will be more comfortable, lighter, cheaper, greener, burn less fuel and will be easier to operate. Hence there is a need for new materials, new engines, simpler designs, structures which are easier to assemble and new coatings. The aircraft parts employed are made of high-strength steels which are susceptible to hydrogen embrittlement (HE). In order to guarantee the required material properties, several internationally renowned companies in the aircraft industry rely on creep testing machines developed and produced by ZwickRoell in Fürstenfeld, Austria.

Structural components and fasteners consisting of high-strength steels have to withstand high temperatures and high stresses in airframes, aircraft engines and helicopters. If the load is high enough, a brittle fracture due to induced hydrogen can occur without any recognizable indications of the imminent failure. Reliable testing of these aircraft parts for eventual use in planes and helicopters is essential in order to eliminate this potential safety risk.

A number of aircraft industry suppliers in France, Poland, Turkey, Netherlands and Italy, including Fokker Landing Gear, AIM Norway and Lisi Aerospace, have equipped their laboratories with various creep testing systems from ZwickRoell to detect possible hydrogen embrittlement and minimize the risk of brittle fracture of their steel parts.

ZwickRoell supplies multi-purpose creep testing machines covering both basic and advanced creep applications, enabling hydrogen embrittlement tests according to ASTM F519 and F1624. Depending on the customer’s additional requirements, the electromechanically loaded Kappa DS and SS or the Kappa LA with dead-weight or spring loading are the most popular systems for these types of test. All creep testers have all-round safety shields with electrical interlocking to ensure maximum safety for operator and machine during brittle specimen fractures. To provide customers with a solution offering greater space and cost savings, ZwickRoell has recently developed a new safety device, covering just the essential area around the specimen rather than the whole load frame. Another key feature is the user-friendly testing software, which allows up to four lots of four specimens to be tested simultaneously but evaluated individually.

Managers responsible for process qualification and material control have commented favorably on the practical, easy handling of the ZwickRoell creep testing machines and the reduction in test failures and fault events. ZwickRoell’s efficient service and support organization, well-trained and solution-focused staff and the versatility of the creep testing systems have convinced all of these aircraft suppliers to continue their collaboration with ZwickRoell in Fürstenfeld.