The lighter and stiffer an aircraft, spacecraft or automobile is, the less fuel it uses and the less emissions it gives off. Hence, glass or carbon fiber composites are increasingly being used in these vehicles, successfully competing with lightweight alloy options. The composites are also highly corrosion and fatigue resistant and these additional benefits mean they are also considered in industries where corrosion is a major factor, such as renewable energies, O&G and chemical processing.

Our clients are numbered among the world leaders in the development of their products using these advanced materials.Their products often operate in much more hostile conditions, pushing materials such as new thermoplastics, foams, adhesives to their very limits. We support work on these different materials in the various industry sectors, with comprehensive testing and analyses often requiring completely new approaches to testing, qualifying or identifying fitness for purpose, or allowing life assessment.

Polymer Matrix Composites or PMC’s are a relatively new material that are light weight and posses a high degree of stiffness and strength along the direction of their reinforcement. Element has particular experience in their application within the Aerospace (fuselage, bulkhead & floor, cargo liner, wings, landing gear, doors,
rotor blades & hubs, satellite structure) and Transportation sectors (car & rail body panels, bumper fascia, radiator grills, instrument panels, engine components, fuel lines).

As a leader in testing advanced composite materials, Element utilizes carefully honed techniques to obtain the most reliable data with the lowest scatter. This helps our clients obtain the best possible design allowable values. These methods include special attention to specimen preparation in our complete specimen fabrication laboratory. Key equipment includes diamond-coated tooling, surface grinders, mills and laboratory presses. We perform nearly all mechanical property tests (ASTM, SACMA, etc...) of interest to the composites community.

Element is a proactive participant and leader within the international advanced composites community with active membership in ASTM D30, the Committee on Composite Materials, CMH-17 the Composite Materials Handbook (formerly MIL-HDBK-17), NADCAP and A2LA.

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Polymer Matrix Composite Testing Services

Element performs mechanical, electrical, flammability tests and utilizes thermal analysis techniques to characterize polymers and composite materials. Services include testing for qualification, A and B basis allowables as well as routine quality assurance support. We are able to determine glass transition temperatures (Tg), melting points, heat of fusion and other critical thermal properties.

Mechanical Properties

Tensile Properties ASTM D3039 D5766 and ISO 527

Interlaminar tension per ASTM D7291 and D6415

Compressive Properties per ASTM D3410, D6641, D6484, SACMA SRM1

Shear Properties per ASTM D3518, D2344, D5379, D7078

Temperature Capability from -300°F to 700°F

Impact and Compression after Impact per ASTM D7136 and D7137

Fracture Toughness including GIC,GIIC and mixed mode Gc per ASTM D5528 and D6671

Fatigue per ASTM D3479

Structural Tests with multi-channel data acquisition

Thermal Analysis

Element utilizes thermal analysis techniques to characterize polymers and composite materials. We are able to determine glass transition temperatures (Tg), melting points, heat of fusion and other critical thermal properties.

Dynamic Mechanical Analysis - DMA (ASTM E1640 and ASTM D7028).

Differential Scanning Calorimetry – DSC

Melting Point and Transition Temperatures (ASTM D3418)

Glass Transition Temperature Tg (ASTM E1356 and ASTM D7426)

Thermogravimetric Analysis - TGAThermomechanical Analysis – TMA

Coefficient of Linear Thermal Expansion (ASTM E831)

Glass Transition Temperature (ASTM E1545)

Thermo-Physical Properties
Element also determines resin, fiber and void volumes on composite materials by acid digestion or burn off per ASTM D3171, and gel time. Flow and volatiles per ASTM D3529, D3530, D3531

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