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Composites testing

Properties for process modelling

Expert knowledge and a track record

NPL offers measurement and consultancy services via our special to type test rigs and novel/emerging measurement techniques for composites process. NPL are able to provide measurements and advice on physical, thermal and fluid properties across a wide range of temperatures, pressures and materials. These measurements provide the data that industry needs to optimise production processes and develop the new products that are required to address national challenges for instance related to hydrogen and sustainable aviation.

Properties characterised include: 

Preform and resin characterisation ​

NPL’s specialist test rigs enable the characterisation of the textile reinforcements used in fabrication of composite material products by liquid composite moulding (LCM) techniques. These capabilities enable measurement of properties, such as in-plane permeability, out-of-plane permeability and pre-form compressibility. These facilities are based within NPL’s Mechanical Test Facility (MTF), a £5m investment into state-of-the-art metrology equipment based in Teddington, south west London.​​

To do this, NPL uses the following equipment:

Test rig for radial in-plane permeability measurement

Test rig for radial in-plane permeability measurement

Test rig for out-of-plane permeability measurement

Test rig for out-of-plane permeability measurement

Compression setup for measurement of textile compressibility

Compression setup for measurement of textile compressibility

The measurement techniques represent the state-of-the-art in materials characterisation for LCM. These fundamental property measurements enable industry to simulate and optimise their manufacturing processes, which can then be verified in a separate measurement rig that additionally allows for measuring cure times, gel times and resin arrival times.

For more information on our capabilities, or the benefits that our measurements can make to your process, please do get in contact with us.

Thermal analysis 

This measurement service enables organisations to understand, with confidence, the thermal performance of their materials and improve their process modelling. We can accurately measure thermal conductivity, heat flow, thermal diffusivity, thermal expansion and material transition (degree of cure and glass transition temperature). NPL leads on the development of standards and also international round-robin benchmarking activity in this area and we offer reference materials with traceability to the UK national standards.

Polymer rheology and viscosity 

We characterise the flow properties of polymer melts, solutions and suspensions over a wide range of temperature and testing conditions. Our instruments cover viscous and viscoelastic properties of fluids

Cure shrinkage

We offer measurement and consultancy services on our active development of measurement techniques that can accurately capture material and part properties. These results can inform and improve process models and predict part shape including cure distortion and springback. We can validate the model via detailed part characterisation.

Don’t see what you are looking for? Our diverse skill set enables us to provide bespoke solutions. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

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Find out more about NPL’s Advanced engineering materials services

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Our research and measurement solutions support innovation and product development. We work with companies to deliver business advantage and commercial success.
Contact our Customer Services team on +44 20 8943 7070