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A comprehensive range of tests

Our high-quality, bespoke mechanical testing and consultancy services provide customers with the confidence they need that the materials they use are durable and suitable for their intended purpose.  We offer a wide range of standardised and non-standardised testing for a variety of different classes of materials (such as composites, polymers, metals, ceramics and adhesives). Each material type has a number of test that best characterise its performance and durability. In general we measure mechanical strength (uniaxial and bend), fatigue, fracture toughness, elastic modulus, residual stress, hardness, creep, ductile brittle transition, and environmental conditioning (thermal, humidity, chemical).  We have specialist knowledge on:  

Composites and polymers  

  • In-plane and through-thickness (3-D) properties 
    • Tension, compression, shear, flexure 
    • Elastic moduli and strength 
    • Thin and thick-sections 
    • Environmental conditioning (thermal, hot/wet, chemical) 
    • Fatigue (constant and variable amplitude): +/-100 kN 
    • Hot-wet fatigue (up to 90°C/85% RH) 
  • Structural (open-hole-tension, open-hole-compression, sandwich constructions, bonded and bolted joints) 
  • Residual stresses – layer removal, incremental slitting 
  • Nano/micro modulus, hardness and creep (polymers) 
  • High temperature nanoindentation 
  • Adhesive and coating strength 
  • Strain measurement via strain gauges, digital image correlation, optical fibre Bragg grating sensors

Further information is available in our good practice guides.  

Metals and ceramics  

  • Bespoke and standard uniaxial testing to 1100 °C 
  • Ambient and high temperature low cycle fatigue 
    • alignment, elastic modulus, cracking of coatings (combined with AE) 
  • Creep 
    • Isothermal, dynamic temperature / load 
  • Miniaturised testing 
    • Small punch  
    • Electro thermo mechanical tester (ambient to solidus temperature) 
  • Ductile brittle transition temperature 
    • 4 and 3-Point bending of coatings 
    • Temperatures up to ~1000 ºC 
  • Scanning Indentation Microhardness Measurement 
  • Hardness – Vickers, Rockwell, Brinell, Knoop indentation 
  • Nano indentation, micro pillars and beams 
  • X-ray diffraction 
    • Phase ID, hot stage, residual stress 

Miniaturised testing 

If standard test samples cannot be manufactured because of insufficient material, such as when testing alloys from a thin walled product for instance, we have developed the electro-thermal mechanical testing machine (ETMT) which enables complex mechanical tests on very small test-pieces up to their solidus temperature.  

The system has a maximum force capability of 4 kN, and tests can be performed on electrically conducting materials up to the melting point, so long as the test-piece does not sag significantly. Phase changes are readily detected by changes in resistivity. It has been used on a very wide range of hardmetals, cermets and metal alloys, including nickel, titanium and iron based systems.

Hardness and microhardness mapping 

Hardness is a key quality assurance test for all materials, regardless of their processing route.  It quickly defines whether the processing schedule has achieved the required end-product characteristics.   

We have been influential in evaluating conventional hardness tests for brittle materials and in supporting broad application of the techniques available. In the ceramic field, we have coordinated European work to validate EN 843-4 on Vickers, Knoop and Rockwell ‘N’-scale hardness testing. In the powder metallurgy  field, we have studied correlations between Rockwell ‘A’, often used in the USA, and Vickers HV30 Tests, used in Europe. We have also experimented with Vickers HV100 tests for the determination of fracture toughness via the Palmqvist cracking method.   

Uncertainties in mechanical testing  

UNCERT, a project partly funded by the EC's Standards, Measurement and Testing programme, developed codes of practice for treating uncertainty in mechanical testing. Its aim was to simplify the way in which uncertainties for 17 mechanical tests on metallic materials are evaluated. They are intended for all those interested in measurement and testing and particularly for practicing engineers, technicians, and managers in the manufacturing and service sectors. 

The UNCERT manual comprises six sections: 

  • Introduction to the evaluation of uncertainty 
  • Glossary of definitions and symbols 
  • Typical sources of uncertainty in materials testing 
  • Guidelines for the estimation of uncertainty for a series of tests 
  • Guidelines for reporting uncertainty 
  • Individual Codes of Practice for different tests 

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Contact our Customer Services team on +44 20 8943 7070