We offer many forms of testing for hardware requirements such as NDI, structural, CTE, RF, and materials. Integrating testing into your program will ensure successful performance. We are also experienced with strategic test planning and can provide guidance when government qualification is necessary for the final hardware application.
Manufacturers have long known to “measure twice and cut once,” but Program Managers will still insist on testing.
Whether you are a Program Manager, Systems Engineer, or tasked with building or repairing equipment, then you understand the importance of testing hardware. Programs may require some testing or may require a lot of testing. It can be a convoluted path to reach final qualification for your customer. Rock West Composites can help you with the planning, coordination, and execution of a variety of qualification tests for many common and uncommon requirements.
It can be important when producing mission critical hardware to test the manufactured components for voids, delaminations, or inconsistencies in areas that aren’t visible, but we can’t destroy the part to do it. So we use nondestructive inspection to verify that parts have met all manufacturing requirements and will perform as expected. Whether it’s ultrasonic, through transmission, pulse echo, x-ray, or other methods, we will work with you to verify the hardware meets requirements.
The secret to composites strength to weight ratio is the ability to orient the fibers in ways that can increase strength, stiffness, or durability. Load testing ensures that the final product can withstand the conditions the part will face. These tests can take the form of nondestructive or destructive testing (or test to failure) and test things like tensile, compression, flexural, and shear.
Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE) testing is vital for parts that will undergo significant temperature changes during their use. To test the CTE of a part, two physical quantities (displacement and temperature) are measured on a sample going through a thermal cycle. Carbon fiber composite parts can be specifically designed to have near zero CTE making them ideal for applications in space like optical benches.
Radio frequency testing in our lab environment measures the effects on RF signals as they pass through, or reflect off, our composite parts. This testing can be useful for composite radomes during design development and qualification, as well as part of our quality assurance when delivering parts. We can measure RF transmission or reflection properties at frequencies from 0.4 to 40 GHz over a range of view angles to meet our customer’s needs.
We strategize to perform the tests in an order which will allow for design refinement and avoid retesting or achieve multiple test requirements in a single test article or series. We often conduct simple screening tests in-house and then conduct or coordinate tests at laboratories when specialized equipment is required, or testing is needed for a large number of samples.