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Structural performance laboratory

Structural Performance lab

Cardiff University benefits from cutting edge manufacturing and structural analysis facilities to conduct in-depth testing and diagnostics across all fields of engineering.

The laboratory has an extensive range of equipment to allow research which ranges from the acoustic emission testing of aircraft structures, testing and diagnostics of structures such as bridges, and work in biomedical engineering on soft tissue mechanics.

The facility has been subject to over £1million of recent investment and plays host to the Mechanical and Structural Performance group.

Technical features

To cater for the various strands of world-leading research conducted on site, the Structural Performance Laboratory provides a range of resources.

  • 3D Laser Scanning Vibrometer (Polytech) measures vibrations and stress or strain in a 3D field using lasers.
  • Acoustic emission monitoring equipment (Physical Acoustics) has a range of applications in in audio-based damage detection.
  • Autoclave (AEROFORM) facilitates composite manufacturing at temperatures of up to 250 degrees centigrade.
  • Contact Profilometer (Taylor/Hobson Form Talysurf) features standard and minature diamond stylus and 2D and 3D measurement options. Measurement of surface form and roughness with a 1mm dynamic range.
  • Digital Image Correlation System (Limess) measures displacements in a 3D field using digital cameras.
  • Injection moulder (Arburg Injection Moulding Facility) is a50 tonne clamping force.
  • Load test machines (MTS, DARTEC, AVERY, DENNISON, LOSENHOWSEN) perform static (5N-200kN) and dynamic (5N-500kN) structural testing.
  • Twin Disk Tribology Testing Machines (Cardiff University) operate at peak contact pressures of up to 2 GPa. Variable speed with extensive range of set slide/roll ratios. Standard test disks crowned to produce elliptical point contact.
  • Ultrasonic C-scanner (MIDAS) measures damage in composites using ultrasonic waves. Top of Form

Practical applications

Researchers within the Mechanical and Structural Performance research group collaborate with a range of industrial partners to address the challenges of weight reduction, reliability and safety in mechanical structures and systems.

Current key projects based at the Structural Performance Laboratory include the development of a lightweight structural health monitoring system, a self-powered device for wireless structural health monitoring and autonomous power cells (through power management, wireless communication and energy harvesting) for monitoring applications.