Lawrence Tech adds sophisticated new equipment to aid research, student skills
Thursday, July 28th, 2011
The Center for Innovative Materials Research (CIMR) at Lawrence Technological University has added another state-of-the-art testing instrument, the Instron ElectroPuls E10000, which uses a laser to measure the performance of materials under different stress factors and environmental conditions.
The ElectroPuls 10000 is an all-electric system that doesn’t need any hydraulic mechanisms or a cooling system. The laser measuring device is an attachment that makes the instrument both more accurate and easier to use. As currently configured, the testing instrument has a retail value in the neighborhood of $400,000, according to Dean of Engineering Nabil Grace.
The ElectroPuls measures the performance of materials when subjected to pulling, twisting and repeated loads. An environmental chamber can test the performance in dry heat up to 180°F or in sub-zero temperatures.
Lawrence Tech ordered the new testing equipment after Grace saw a smaller model in operation at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Miss. Lawrence Tech is the only university with this testing equipment.
Grace said the instrument has many applications, including military. It will be used at Lawrence Tech to determine the ability of prototype materials to withstand bomb blasts and other high-intensity stresses. The instrument also has applications for biomedical engineering research currently under way at Lawrence Tech.
Lawrence Tech has growing applied research capabilities that both enhance student learning and provide data to a variety of corporate and government clients who contract with the university.
“The ElectroPuls is an outstanding testing instrument and will help us with many research projects in the coming years,” Grace said. “It provides another dimension to our capabilities at CIMR.”
Lawrence Tech’s CIMR is housed in a 7,200-square-foot research facility with a 30-foot clearance height. It has a 25,000-pound crane to accommodate testing of structural components up to 100 feet long under various types of loads up to one million pounds.
A large-scale fire chamber with dynamic and static loading capabilities can test structural components in temperatures up to 2,300°F, including conditions like those of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
A full-scale environmental chamber – spacious enough for a large vehicle – can simulate harsh weather conditions such as blowing, freezing rain. The Fahrenheit temperature range is 90 below zero to 185 above.
Earlier this year Lawrence Tech installed the MTS Model 311 Four Post Frame, which is a high-force test system that can be used for a variety of material property tests. It has an environmental chamber that can subject a specimen to temperatures ranging from -200°F to 200°F. The MTS machine can be used for a variety of academic, industrial and research applications.