Westmoreland Mechanical Testing & Research opens new Composites Center

The new facility is equipped with an array of hydraulic, electro-mechanical, drop tower/pendulum impact test frames.

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Westmoreland Mechanical Testing & Research (WMT&R, Youngstown, PA, US) recently opened its new Composites Center of Excellence, which will enhance its existing composites testing services. The Composites Center is Nadcap certified.

As composites have become prevalent in manufacturing applications and more complex in structure, WMT&R’s creation of a Composites Center represents its focus on staying at the forefront of composites testing technology. “Because composite materials require so many types of testing, it is our great advantage to have our composites testing operations in one area,” said WMT&R Vice President Mike Rossi.

The new facility is equipped with an array of hydraulic, electro-mechanical, drop tower/pendulum impact test frames. It contains a full chemistry lab for conducting tests such as density and fiber content tests using resin burn-off and acid digestion methods. The lab’s fume hood enables etching capabilities for pre-adhesive specimen preparation work. Since there are often humidity requirements with composites testing, the facility’s testing areas are climate controlled.

The Composites Center also features a dedicated machine shop staffed by experienced machinists. This enables WMT&R to accommodate unique customer testing requirements, including unusual dimensions and geometries.

To strengthen the depth and quality of its testing results, WMT&R added thermal analysis instruments at the Composites Center. The equipment includes dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), thermomechanical analysis (TMA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric (TGA) machines.

In addition to new testing equipment, WMT&R recently acquired a 3D optical deformation analysis system for the Composites Center. Its no-touch optical measuring capability shortens specimen gaging preparation times for certain test types while still acquiring specific data and pinpointing precise locations of stresses and strains as it determines intricate 3D deformation. The department also acquired a weather tester that will test results of timed specimen exposure to UV rays.