Labs & Equipment

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Teaching and research activities of the group are supported by very well equipped laboratories for composite materials and active structures manufacturing and material characterisation.

Material testing:

Material testing equipment is used to measure the mechanical properties of samples and structures. Some of the tests typically performed include: Compression, single lap shear, 3 point bending, tensile tests, fatigue, impact, etc. There are mainly three types of material testing equipment, which differ from each other on how the load is applied to the sample: Static, dynamic and impact tests.

Static testing

In static tests, a unique force is applied to the sample for a certain time. Typically, this test is performed until the fracture of the sample, while the Force / Displacement curve is obtained. From these values, different mechanical properties can be calculated e.g. Young’s modulus, bending strength, shear strength, etc. At the CMASLab there are 2 devices for static testing of samples and structures:

Zwick 1  
Source: CMASLab

Zwick 1474: In this tensile test machine, several mechanical tests can be performed, including compression, tensile, 3 and 4 point bending, etc. Typically, this machine is used for testing big samples or structures. This equipment has 2 load cells, with the following maximum forces applicable:

  •     5 kN
  • 100 kN
Zwick 2  

5 kN Zwick test machine: In this case, the maximum applicable force is 5 kN, being ideal to measure mechanical properties of small samples and coupons in tension, compression or bending.

Dynamic testing

Dynamic tests are carried out to evaluate the fatigue behavior of structures or samples under a cyclic load. At the CMASLab, these tests are carried out with an Instron hydropuls, having a maximum force applicable of 100 kN. There are 2 cylinders available that can be actuated at the same time, as shown in the image below. In these tests, the S-N curves are obtained, showing the material fatigue performance.

dynamic testing
Source: CMASLab

Impact testing

Impact tests are performed to evaluate the amount of energy that can be absorbed by a material during fracture. At the CMASLab, this test is performed it a Charpy test rig, similar as the one shown below. In this test, a pendulum with a certain mass is thrown towards the sample, breaking it, while the energy needed to break the sample is recorded.

impact testing

Material Characterization

Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) Mettler Toledo DSC 1

DSC measures changes in enthalpy as a function of temperature; it is useful for determining heat capacity and phase transitions of materials, e.g. glass transition, melting, crystallization, curing.


  • Sample handling by robotic gripper
  • Equipped with 400 W oven and intracooler
  • Temperature range -70°C to 700°C
  • Maximum heating rate 100K/min
  • Maximum cooling rate 40K/min

Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) Perkin Elmer Pyris 1

TGA measures the mass of material as a function of temperature; it is used to determine temperature of degradation and weight composition of composites.




  • Temperature range from room temperature to 1000°C
  • Heating rates up to 50°C/min
  • Mass sensitivity <1 microgram
  • Available sheath gases: N2 and O2

Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) Perkin Elmer DMA 7e

TGA measures the mass of material as a function of temperature; it is used to determine temperature of degradation and weight composition of composites.




  • Temperature range -65°C to 500°C
  •  Heating rates from 0.1°C to 40°C/min
  • Force control
  • Purge gas: Helium

Optical Microscropy with Digital Camera, Leica DMRXA with DC480

Optical microscopy provides magnified images of samples for microstructural characterization.


  • Magnification 5x to 150x
  • Dark field and bright field options

Sample Preparation

  • Sanding Machine
  • Preform cutter
  • Mutronic diamond saw

FRP Processing & Manufacturing

  • Autoclave
  • Lauffer Press
  • Fontine Press
  • Speed Mixer

Thermal Systems

  • Infrared Heating Field
  • Vulcan Oven
  • Little oven
  • Oil bath
  • Induction heating station

Electrical Equipment

  • HV amplifiers
  • Power amplifiers
  • Signal amplifiers
  • Charge amplifier
  • Impedance/gain analyser
  • Fourier Analyser
  • Switch System
  • Phase Shifter
  • Dual Variable shifter
  • Digital sine controller
  • Oscilloscope

Electromechanical Equipment

  • Piezotron Coupler

Optical Measurement Systems

  • Laser Displacement meters
  • Fibre optic strain gage
  • Digital Image Correlation


  • Saws
  • Sheet cutter
  • Drills
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