MME - Research Areas - Advanced Composites Laboratory


Advanced Composites Laboratory


R. Vernon McBroom Professor: Dr. Yuris Dzenis

Properties of advanced lightweight fiber reinforced polymer composites are studied in this laboratory. The laboratory includes equipment for manufacturing aerospace grade thermoplastic and thermoset composites, closed-loop programmable testing machines for quasistatic and fatigue testing, nondestructive evaluation and damage monitoring equipment, and modern data acquisition and analysis hardware and software.

  • A specialized press-clave with simultaneous control of temperature, pressure, and vacuum to fabricate high-performance laminated composite panels. Laboratory for thermal analysis including DSC, DMTA, and TGA to evaluate matrix and interface state after manufacturing and during aging. C-SCAN for composite consolidation and quality evaluation after manufacturing. An environmental oven for specimen conditioning and tabbing. A high-speed water-cooled saw with diamond blades for specimen cutting. Quasistatic and fatigue mechanical testing using computerized servo-hydraulic testing machines by MTS and Instron. Extensive set of fixtures including alignment fixtures, wedge-action grips, axial and bi-axial extensometers. Fixtures for tension/compression/flexure/ILSS testing. Full-field non-contact 3D deformation and strain measurement by ARAMIS. Environmental chamber for high/low temperature testing. Specialized thermomechanical fatigue testing of advanced composites.
  • Mode I, II, and mixed modes fracture mechanics testing specimens and fixtures. Interlaminar fracture mechanics evaluation using DCB, ENF, CLS, Arcan, and edge delamination tests. Video microscope and AE to monitor crack initiation and extension. Profilometer for quantitative fractographic analysis. Interfacial microbond and fragmentation tests for fiber-matrix interface evaluation.

  • Specialized equipment for modification of interfaces in composites at different scales. Nanoengineering of interfaces for toughness. A set of computerized microstages for rapid screening of new materials before standard coupon testing. Microstages for in-situ testing in optical and scanning electron microscopes. High frequency fatigue testing of miniature specimens (up to 200 Hz). High temperature fracture mechanics testing.
  • Dynamic composite testing facility. Specialized fixtures for instrumented Mode I, II, and mixed mode dynamic fracture mechanic testing. Lenses, light equipment, and cameras for specimen deformation and crack extension history evaluation. Split Hopkinson bar for quantitative load history capture. FE models for calculating dynamic fracture toughness. Fixtures for side impact testing. Multiple high-speed dynamic imaging cameras: high resolution rotating mirror CCD camera system; image-intensified gated CCD camera system; dynamics color cameras (maximum speeds up to 10,000,000 frames per second). Dynamic 3D deformation and strain history evaluation using digital image correlation (DIC) and two high-resolution digital CCDs with ARAMIS.