SELECTING THE BEST PHYSICAL TESTING METHOD FOR NONMETALLIC MATERIALS

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As with all aerospace materials, manufacturers must quality test their composites at every step of the process- from design to final product- to ensure that parts and components remain free of damage and compliant with a broad spectrum of industry standards.  Composite testing also analyzes the composites structure to make sure that it has properly cured, as air bubbles or improper layering can cause cracks and catastrophic failures.  Missing defects or design flaws in parts made from composites can severely damage a company’s reputation and brand, not to mention potential harm to equipment, personnel, and passengers.

Testing nonmetallic materials can fall under physical, mechanical or chemical testing.  In this blog, we’ll address physical testing only.  Here’s some of the most common physical testing methods for nonmetallic materials, as well as the coatings and adhesives used in the final product:

  • Prepreg Testing - Designed to measure the inter-ply shear resistance of dry carbon woven fabrics as well as prepregs at different temperatures, consolidation pressures, and forming rates typical to those used in autoclave processing. 
  • Sealant Testing - Measures the inter-ply shear resistance of dry carbon woven fabrics as well as prepregs at different temperatures, consolidation pressures, and forming rates typical to those used in autoclave processing. 
  • Taber Abrasion/Hardness Testing - Determines if particles will be released into the air during their life cycle due to normal operations, which can have significant impact on occupational and consumer health.
  • Fiber Areal Weight – In aerospace applications, air resistance depends on a part’s area, while gravitational force depends on mass. Therefore, determining a composite’s areal weight helps manufacturers find its material suitability for a specific application.
  • Photomicrography / Stereoscopy - The software assembles the images so the various layers of the microstructure can be selectively viewed.  This data is critical in determining material characteristics.

The aerospace sector bears stringent requirements for quality, because few other industries pose the same risks when failure occurs. IMR Test Labs can verify raw materials, perform thorough testing of new products, analyze critical failures, and offer overflow testing support for a variety of aerospace OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers as they seek to implement lighter weight materials into their manufacturing processes. Our aerospace testing services have been accredited by some of the biggest names in the sector, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Airbus.

Using our waterjet cutter, we cut precise test samples to ensure that test results will not be impacted by damage or cracks from the cutting process. This cutting process is also safer for our employees and makes aerospace composites more visible.

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For a complete guide to Testing Composite Materials for the aerospace industry, download our eBook here