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Mechanical Testing of Composites

The R-TECH Materials composites laboratory has become a recognised leader in the mechanical testing of composites. Our technical team have developed the techniques required in cutting, sample preparation and testing to ensure accurate and reliable results in partnership with the wider composites community.

The esotropic and heterogeneous nature of composite materials means that an in-depth understanding of their mechanical properties is very important. However, these characteristic and the distinctly different materials that make up the reinforcement and matrix in a polymer matrix composite also present unique challenges when conducting mechanical testing.

Accredited Testing

Importantly, our composites testing lab has been accredited by UKAS to ISO 17025. A full suite of standard BSI, EN and ASTM composite tests have been approved within this scheme giving our clients peace of mind in the quality of our test procedures.

In addition to the annual obligations and audits to meet the requirements of UKAS we also undergo a rigorous proficiency testing program through DRRR, Kunstoff Institut Lundenscheid and ASTM International

State of the Art Technology

Our composite testing laboratories are equipped with state of the art technology to assist our experienced technical team in the delivery of accurate and reliable mechanical testing. We use a mix of strain gauging, deflectometry, bespoke LVDT arrangements and bi-axial extensometery to ensure the precision of strain measurements in all directions.

In addition, our universal test machines utilise the complete Zwick Roell Test Expert III software package and were the first machines in the country to run the newest version of this industry leading software.

Capacity and Capability

As well as providing a wide range of mechanical test techniques (listed below), we also have a wide ranging capacity for many mechanical tests enabling the testing of structural composites and large scale composite components or products. For example our load range for static loading is 10N to 1.5MN and in fatigue 1kN to 400kN.

Temperature and Humidity

Our composite testing lab is maintained at the international standard of 23°C and 50% rH at all times. This is the standard for ambient composite testing, however we also have the capability for elevated temperature mechanical testing to 250°C, and sub-ambient testing to -70°C.

Our environmental chambers also allow for complex sample conditioning cycles to be completed in the range between 20% and 98% rH and temperatures between -40°C to 180°C.

Additionally Hot/Wet soaks (70°C 85%rH, Liquid immersion baths and boiling baths can be utilised to condition samples in the lab.

Accredited Test Methods

Our full UKAS scope can be viewed here. Below is a list of all our mechanical testing capability.

Tensile

Laminate Tensile ISO 527 and ASTM D3039

Flatwise Tensile ASTM C297

Compression

Laminate Compression ISO 604 ISO 14126 ASTM D695 prEN 2850 and SACMA SRM 1, ASTM D6641

Edgewise Compression ASTM C364

Flexure

Laminate Flexure ISO 14125 and ASTM D3518

Sandwich Flexural ASTM C297

Shear

Short beam shear/Interlaminar Shear ISO 14130 and ASTM D2344

In-Plane Shear ISO 14130 and ASTM D2344

Lap Shear ISO 4587 and ASTM D5868

V-Notched Shear ASTM D5379

Peel

T-Peel

Climbing Drum Peel ASTM D1781

Fatigue
  • Load capacity up to 100kN
  • Tension-Tension
  • Tension-Compression
  • Compression-Compression
  • Flexural (3 or 4 point bend)
Impact

IZOD ISO 180