Simluation, analysis and testing case studies

Customised Mechanical Testing

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Business Challenge 
Test the mechanical properties of products for which there are no standard test methods.

What we can do
Offer a reliable test method for a desired application through the design and creation of appropriate grips and fixtures.

Business outcome
Help companies deliver products to the market which have been shown to perform under tension or compression and therefore meet the required specifications.

 

Small Scale Mapping

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Business Challenge
Non-uniform distribution of ingredients or components can lead to a variation in product quality.

What we can do
The chemical composition can be determined across a sample to create a map, identifying areas with a high concentration of the components of interest.

Business outcome
Companies can accurately identify the distribution of components within their product for both quality control and product development.

Preventing residual stress failure of parts

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Business Challenge 
Many manufacturing techniques cause residual stress creating weak points and subsequent failure and warping.

What we can do
We can measure residual stress without destroying anything, which allows us to compare different manufacturing techniques and processing conditions. We can also give insights on reliability and durability.

Business outcome
Manufacturers can use the best process which gives them fit-for-purpose parts and avoid costly part failures.

Anti-Reflective Coatings

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Business Challenge
Anti-reflective coatings on lenses for spectacles, cameras and telescopes are easily damaged and not totally effective.

What we did
We measured the thickness and atomic-scale roughness of all the layers of the coating to a high level of accuracy.

Business outcome
New anti-reflective coatings are now in use that are more effective, more robust and cheaper to make.

Assessing turbine blade stress

Assessing turbine blade stress

Business opportunity
Turbine blades made of high-performance alloys are subject to high stress. This can lead to weaknesses developing in the alloy that can lead to failure.

What we can do
We can measure the distribution of stress in turbine blades and other metal components using 2D mapping.

Result
Understanding how alloy materials are affected by mechanical stress enables new materials with superior performance to be developed. This reduces failure rates and can minimise engineering and materials costs.

Simulation and design of engineering properties for complex materials

Simulation and design of engineering properties for complex materials

Business opportunity
Designing complex structures to achieve optimal properties can a be time-consuming and costly process, especially if many iterations need to be manufactured and tested. A simulation and design strategy can be applied to many manufacturing challenges and opportunities. One example is the optimisation of the design and engineering performance of cellular pore arrays that are a critical feature of medical implants.

What we did
We used finite-element modelling to model our cylindrical test design, and then calculate a compressive stress vs strain map of the test cylinder. The design data was then used to 3D print an exact copy of the model in titanium. The compressive stress vs strain behaviour of the printed cylinder was measured and compared with the calculated behaviour.

Result
We have a validated predictive model for pore array design for medical implant devices and an understanding of the effect of structure on the engineering performance. More generally, simulation enables a faster design process, with fewer manufacturing iterations required to optimise performance of the material, for whatever properties of the material are identified as critical.

Early identification of pitting corrosion

Early identification of pitting corrosion

Business opportunity
The global cost of corrosion is estimated at US$2.5 trillion per year. Often corrosion begins at a single point and develops into a pit, which can lead to catastrophic failure.

What we can do
We can identify corrosion species present in a small area.

Result
Identifying the source of corrosion before the problem escalates can help with the development of mitigation strategies, increase infrastructure lifetime, decrease failure rates and minimise downtime.

Extending the life of rechargeable batteries

Extending the life of rechargeable batteries

Business opportunity
Rechargeable batteries use a reversible chemical reaction to store and release energy. Battery materials degrade over time, so that eventually they cannot hold a charge.

What we can do
We can follow the chemical reactions that occur in battery materials through a charge-discharge cycle, and the extent to which these reactions are reversible.

Result
Understanding the chemical reaction and the limiting current/voltage range enables new battery products to be produced that will last longer and endure more cycles.

Improving chocolate production

Improving chocolate production

Business opportunity
‘Fat bloom’ occurs in chocolate when cocoa butter separates from other ingredients and migrates to the surface. Although it is not harmful, it is unsightly and considered undesirable by consumers.

What we can do
We can measure the stability of cocoa butter and other fats to help guide the chocolate tempering process.

Result
Understanding ‘fat bloom’ and selecting ingredients that are stable over a wider temperature range can be used to produce high-quality chocolate with a long shelf-life.

Forensic examination in the aviation sector

Forensic examination in the aviation sector

Business opportunity
Unpredictable, premature wear of aircraft starter/generator carbon brushes forced unscheduled maintenance, creating expense and disrupting service delivery.

What we did
We measured brush materials parameters and correlated them with known service behaviour. A subtle change in material composition of a composite part, although fabricated by the original equipment manufacturer, resulted in unacceptable loss of performance in service.

Result
A simple screening test was devised for suspected sub-standard batches of parts. With this knowledge the aircraft operator was able to retain the existing maintenance schedule, saving costs, avoiding downtime and reputational damage.