The Importance of Composite Testing

Thu, Mar 03, 2022 at 9:00AM

The Importance of Composite Testing

From aerospace and defense to even marine applications, advanced composites are being integrated into a wide array of products. As demand for composites grows, so too does the need for comprehensive, trustworthy testing. By utilizing a plethora of tests, it is possible to measure the tensile strength and compression of a composite, among other characteristics. Continue reading to discover what makes composite testing an integral part of composite engineering.

Custom Making Solutions for Many Applications

Advanced composites can be engineered to suit most any industry and any application. This is due to the incredible number of possible combinations of resins, reinforcements and manufacturing methods that exist. For example, composites that are manufactured for the aerospace industry will likely have a different materials and processes versus the composites that comprise the hull of a boat. Because of this customization, its entirely possible that the specific laminate configuration under consideration has never been utilized before, and thus its critical to establish design allowables to allow system designers to confidently move forward with these advanced materials.

Unlike previous composite materials, advanced composites are made of carefully aligned fibers that are embedded within various matrix materials. For this reason, advanced composite manufacturing can be more laborious and costly, but the end result is more than worth it. Composite testing ensures that all advanced composites are able to meet systems specifications without adding unnecessary materials, making them and worth the time and budget that goes into the design and fabrication.

Unifying Industries

Since advanced composites are comprised of various traditional building materials, composite testing presents a unique opportunity for different industries to collaborate on new composites. For example, fiberglass rose to prominence in the 1950s as a result of the glass industry and textile industry working together to create a new composite. Likewise, in the modern day, independent industries can mix their expertise and utilize composite testing to develop new materials with to solve the problems of tomorrow.

Maximizing the Benefits of Each Component

Advanced composites are often looked to when strength, safety and minimizing weight and cost are critical system requirements. The best way to accomplish this, and maximize the benefit achieved with each component is through well-developed composite testing program. A good composite test plan will normally start at the coupon level, and progress through element, sub component and finally component level testing.  By utilizing various modern testing methods, industry experts can ensure that they are designing advanced composites that exceed the sum of their parts.

Mimicking Nature to Master Composites

Composite materials naturally occur all around us in the world. Some common examples that you may not always think of include wood, shells, and bones. In bones, specifically, hydroxyapatite – an inorganic crystal – reinforces a matrix of organic collagen protein fibers. Similarly, advanced composite manufacturing companies seek to mimic nature when engineering new advanced composites.

It is common practice for composite manufacturers to insert organic materials into an inorganic porous matrix. This template yields stable structures, much like bones, wood, and other naturally occurring composites. In this sense, composite testing is invaluable for composite manufacturers because they can ensure that their design process stays true to nature and produces a reliable composite.

Advanced composite engineering is the most reliable way to manufacture new and innovative materials for a wide breadth of industries. Since this process can take a lot of time, effort, and resources, it is crucial to ensure that the best practices are being followed at every stage of the design process. By doing so, composite manufacturers can reduce risk and finalize new, reliable materials.

To learn more about the exhaustive testing that goes into manufacturing the best advanced composites, contact Mentis Sciences today.

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