New equipment finds flaws in everything from aircraft to mobile phones

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in the Materials Mechanics department use new fracture testing hangers for traditional interlaminar composite fractures as well as advanced hybrid laminate composites, as shown here. Credit: Sandia National Laboratories

Innovations in fracture technology allow materials to be tested more quickly.

Tim Briggs has built a career in extracting and breaking things from Sandia National Laboratories with his team of collaborators. Now, it has developed a tool to test for fractures, starting with structural frames of aircraft and strengthening them to mobile phones.

Briggs has filed a patent for a patent for a device associated with composite structural materials, commonly known as the “Mode I Fracture Test Fixture.”

The device, a small set of two hangers no larger than the hand, is inserted into a hole drilled in a carefully drilled hole through the middle of two structural materials that are connected together. The pendants are attached to a traditional testing machine designed to separate the bound sample to measure how hard it is. Prior to Briggs ’innovation, it could take days or even weeks to prepare samples and perform some fracture tests.

“We separate the fracture grains in a very controlled way,” said Briggs, who works at the Watermelon Light Structure Laboratory. “We can then measure the response of the material and quantify the important properties of the fracture, which will inform us how cracks grow when used in finished products under various conditions that are actually loaded.”

In every industry and consumer product things are broken. This can lead to loss of property, litigation, injury and loss of life. Sometimes fracture occurs because a design is designed without understanding how the materials work under certain conditions.

“Think of critical applications like a pressure plane at an altitude of 30,000 feet, 300 souls or more on board, based on linked surfaces as part of a critical load path,” Briggs explained. “That can never fail. People also don’t want to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for breaking a carbon fiber hockey stick or a very benign mountain bike. “

Device and methodology “can be applied to all means – medical devices, aerospace, automotive accidents, civil structures, pressure vessels, recreation and sport. it aims to become, ”he said.

Before developing their hangers, Briggs and his team had to align and tie the hinges to the beads, which added significant time and cost to the process before the experiment could be set up and completed.

“It’s as simple as it is simple,” he said of the new approach using the free-rotating hanger system, “which is the novelty of this device. Here’s the beauty and simplicity. to cut the wheels, to scratch and clean all the connected surfaces, to mix the adhesives, to align the hinges exactly on the face of the grain, to stick the hinges to one side of that grain, to let go. do “.

The patented device that Briggs allows its team to achieve these critical fractures is much faster and cheaper, allowing them to know much better the conditions that can cause materials to break and fail.

As testing time is significantly reduced, engineers will be able to improve things by subjecting samples to broader environmental and load conditions, ensuring more predictable performance to improve reliability and safety, while reducing research and development costs.

With this new approach, companies can make their products safer and more reliable, as well as cost savings in more efficient research and development and reductions in liability litigation.

Briggs said, “I hope that this new approach and the work that others can enable can have a wide reach and impact beyond Watermelon’s national security mission, with day-to-day activities affecting people’s daily lives more significantly.”

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