New composites test facility to open

NPL is working closely with UK company Instron to open a new facility in 2018 to provide a world-leading mechanical testing capability.

From metals to ceramics, the facility’s state-of-the-art equipment will provide comprehensive testing of a vast range of materials over a wide temperature range, but will in particular help UK industry to better take advantage of new composite materials.

The opportunity for the UK is significant, with the potential to grow its current £2.3 billion composite product market to £12 billion or more by 2030.

Advances in composites promise significant advantages for infrastructure such as bridges and products such as cars, offering desirable properties like reduced weight or increased strength for lower cost. The opportunity for the UK is significant, with the potential to grow its current £2.3 billion composite product market to £12 billion or more by 2030. Yet uptake of these exciting new materials is limited due to a lack of standard data and thorough testing capabilities, which prevent industry from having the confidence that they will perform as claimed.

NPL’s expertise in material characterisation and evaluation will ensure that testing is traceable and reproducible, providing industry with full confidence and assurance in the suitability and performance of new composite materials and enabling their real-world application. NPL will also help to develop ever-more comprehensive testing techniques and lay the groundwork for new regulations, codes and standards, ensuring that the benefits these materials offer are realised as soon as possible.

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