TECHNIQUES

we offer

Our techniques are split into testing and analysis.

TESTING

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Crush Testing

Composite materials absorb energy most efficiently through material fragmentation. They have the ability to absorb significantly more energy per unit weight through crush than metallic structures. Our bespoke drop tower and crush fixtures allow composite crush behaviour to be measured accurately and efficiently. Crush testing gives insight into material stability and susceptibility to compressive failures too. Furthermore, these properties can feed directly in to CZONE analyses, allowing crush behaviour to be accurately predicted. More details on our crush testing approach can be found on www.compositesanalysis.com.

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Fracture Toughness Testing

Understanding fracture toughness behaviour is vital for simulating the damage evolution of composite materials. We offer tests for capturing fracture toughness for different modes and can advise on the tests required for specific material cards. We have developed specialist crack detection software for precisely tracking interlaminar and intralaminar crack growth. Tests offered include:
• Modified Compact Tension and Compact Compression for Fracture Energy Release Rate
• Charpy Dynamic Energy Release Rate
• ASTM D7905 End-Notched Flexure
• ASTM D6671 Mixed Mode Bending
• ASTM D5528 Double Cantilever Beam

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Dynamic Compression and Shear Testing

The compression and shear strengths of composite materials can change with increasing strain rates. In particular, we have witnessed uplifts in strength of between 10% and 50% through our dynamic testing. Our drop tower, high speed cameras and digital image correlation capabilities allow us to measure these characteristics. Rate dependent compression and shear strengths can be incorporated into our Impact Enhanced Ply failure material card.

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Fatigue Testing

Fatigue behaviour of materials is important when designing for the lifetime of a component. Our test capabilities allow us to measure the fatigue properties of composites at a wide range of amplitudes and frequencies. Our repertoire covers a variety of different coupons and components. We have, to name a few, fatigue tested bicycle forks, brake pedals and automotive C-pillar reinforcements.

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Static Testing

We are equipped to conduct a wide range of tensile, compressive and shear tests at static rates:
• ASTM D3039 Tension
• ASTM D6641 Combined Loading Compression
• ISO 14126 End Loaded Compression
• ASTM D7078 V-Notched Rail Shear
• ASTM D3518 In-Plane Shear
• Cyclic Shear Degradation
• ASTM D2344 Short Beam Strength
• ISO 19927 Double Beam Shear
Front and rear strain measurements are taken for all tension and combined loading compression tests, allowing specimen bending to be measured and modulus to be accurately recorded. The outputs from these tests are useful for comparing materials or forming the basis of our material cards. Our own proprietary software saves time and increases repeatability in the processing of results.

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Data Acquisition

For structural analysis it is often critical to establish a correct loading spectrum. Our compact adaptable acquisition system records data in-situ, whether loads on a motorbike or vibrations on heavy goods vehicles. We position sensors at key locations on the structures we assess. This allows us to identify the loading conditions experienced by structures in real life, therefore enabling the exact criteria to be defined for new designs.

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Adhesive Testing

Creating adhesively bonded joints presents one of the greatest challenges in lightweight composite structures, particularly when applied to high volume manufacture. Adhesive performance can be sensitive to bonding technique, adhesive thickness, temperature and moisture, all of which require consideration. Measuring adhesive performance using our lap shear, lap peel and end-notched flexure tests builds confidence in bond performance and allows cohesive connections to be modelled accurately.

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Sandwich Structure Testing

Composite sandwich structures see extensive use where bending stiffness is an important requirement. We can characterise their behaviour with fixturing specifically designed for their structures. The tests we offer are:
• ASTM C273 Sandwich Panel Shear
• ASTM C365 Sandwich Panel Compression
• Facesheet Peel
• Sandwich Panel Crush – Coupons and Sub-Components

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Composite Machining

The quality to which a specimen is machined can vastly affect the outcome of a test. Our machining facility is well equipped and allows us to prepare all of our test specimens in-house. We can produce coupons with complex geometries using our CNC milling machine, diamond saws and notch broaching machine. Our diamond wire saw cutter gives us the capability to machine slots as thin as 0.13 mm. All coupons are produced and checked to tight tolerances.

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Conditioning

Composite performance can change, sometimes dramatically, with temperature and moisture content. Our environmental chamber enables us to test over a wide range of temperatures, from as cold as -70°C, to as hot as 350°C. Additionally, our precision balances and immersive water bath give us the ability to investigate the effect of moisture content on mechanical properties.

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Digital Image Correlation

Using Digital Image Correlation (DIC) for strain measurements holds several advantages over traditional methods. Strain can be captured over a large field, across changing profiles and unlike extensometers, up to the point of failure. All our strain measurements at Engenuity are made with DIC, and our high rate cameras allow us to output precision measurements at up to 900,000 frames per second. Furthermore, our system allows us to produce 3D strain maps of complex geometries.

ANALYSIS

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Structural Analysis

Carrying out detailed structural analysis streamlines development processes, reduces time to market, and predicts part performance before committing to manufacturing. Understanding the stiffness, strength, vibration performance, level of design optimisation, and weight saving opportunities of parts and structures is vital to developing a competitive product in all industries. Engenuity have vast experience utilising multiple Finite Element Analysis (FEA) solvers and a wide array of structural evaluation techniques:
• Linear static
• Vibration and modal
• Topology and laminate optimisation
• Non-linear implicit
• Full dynamic explicit
We apply these techniques not only to composites, but to all structural materials, whether metallic, plastic or ceramic.

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CZONE

CZONE is Engenuity’s solution to the problem posed by the modelling of composite crush. Measured crush forces from coupon tests are used to define the ply-based crush performance of a material. These properties are applied to models, so when a crushing interface is detected, the loads from a crush front are accurate and element deletion reflects the delamination and fragmentation that occurs. More on this technique is available at www.compositesanalysis.com
Engenuity conduct CZONE analyses in house, and the software is currently an add-on for Abaqus Explicit: get in touch if you are interested in obtaining a licence.

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FiRMA

Manufacturing components from Sheet Moulding Compound (SMC) couples low cost constituents (including recycled fibre) with high production volume ability and part reproducibility. Engenuity’s FiRMA (Failure in Random Material Architectures) software allows structural components to be made using chopped and recycled material with confidence, whilst maintaining weight saving potential. FiRMA’s method of material characterisation coupled with stochastic analysis generates a realistic part performance distribution and likelihood of failure. This replaces traditional methods of SMC modelling which are more likely to be pessimistic, returning an overweight product.

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Cure Distortion

During the manufacture of composite components, post cure residual stresses give rise to distorted parts, leading to poor tolerances and assembly issues. Through the testing of materials for relevant thermal and structural properties, we make accurate predictions for post cure residual stresses and therefore can determine how distorted a part will be as it comes out of the mould. This allows us to directly compensate tool geometry CAD, to ensure in-tolerance parts.

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Vibration Analysis

Avoiding resonant modes in many structural assemblies is vital, as running machinery at a matching or near frequency can result in harsh vibration damage and fatigue failure of components. Vibration analysis is invaluable in the design of any engineering component or assembly that experiences a vibration input spectrum. We can predict modal frequencies before components are committed to manufacturing and hence engineer the structure to avoid them. This leads to cost and time savings. Our fully detailed analysis models capture all aspects of the structure and design details that contribute to the modal performance.

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Fatigue Analysis

Understanding the fatigue life of a design can be the difference between a robust, reliable and highly valued product and a costly recall or bloated development budget. Engenuity can calculate the fatigue life of your design, be it a single material with complex and detailed features, or a multi grade welded fabrication. Engenuity use the latest in data acquisition instrumentation to measure the response of the product in its intended environment, develop a detailed and specific duty cycle, and use this to analyse the design with a detailed finite element model and expansive material database. This results in an in depth understanding of how a design will perform with clear indications of potential fatigue and recommendations of how to avoid premature failures.

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Impact Enhanced Ply

Engenuity’s Impact Enhanced Ply (IEP) material card is one of the most comprehensive ways for defining the properties of a composite in analysis. The card allows the user to specify damping and strain rate dependant strength parameters to existing shear degradation failure criteria, enhancing model accuracy. The IEP material card is available as a user subroutine for both Abaqus Explicit and LS-Dyna.

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