Characterization of composite materials: TEC Eurolab solutions and process optimization

Characterization of composite materials: TEC Eurolab solutions and process optimization

Interview with Mrs. Jessica Barbati- Head of the Chemical Laboratory for materials’ testing (TEC Eurolab)


For the industrial sectors to which it caters, in the field of composite material characterization, TEC Eurolab offers an integrated approach using standard and advanced methods and optimized processes. Could you describe in short this approach that guarantees the quality and reliability of results?

In the past decade, the use of composite materials within the industrial domain has grown steadily in virtue of their great resistance and lightness. Automotive and aerospace engineering can no longer do without plastic reinforced with glass and carbon fiber. This is why at present companies need a technical partner that can support them along this process of ongoing research, development and production. TEC Eurolab uses investigation technologies and multidisciplinary expertise that allow helping the customer achieve the most from his components and manufacturing processes. The integrated approach consists of analyzing the customer’s goal in the planning stage and defining an analysis project that in many cases not only includes laboratory tests but a comprehensive technical support, training and certification activities for the staff involved in the process. Furthermore, continuous participation in interlaboratory circuits, the several international accreditations acquired, the in-house management and organization of flows following the Kaizen method, guarantees the reliability and quality of our results.

Talking about composite materials what are the destructive testing solutions implemented in TEC Eurolab’s chemical laboratories that you consider most effective?

A composite material is a heterogeneous material, made by two or more chemically distinct, insoluble and easily distinguishable stages. Different performances can be achieved by the composite material, depending on the quantities related to the two stages and the geometry of reinforcement elements (i.e., shape, dimension, distribution and orientation). Required analyses can range from the simple chemical-physical characterization of the composite material through standard and validated procedures,  to accelerated aging tests to evaluate its resistance to ambient conditions, up to the search of effective performances through an advanced study of flaws, anomalies and failures of the components during the manufacturing and/or use stage. These are the aspects evaluated by TEC Eurolab’s chemical laboratory by means of various analyses that differ depending on the type of composite material to be examined. For instance, if we talk about carbon fiber the tests that are normally carried out include FT-IR infrared spectrophotometry and/or HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography) to assess the type of resin, determining the content of fiber and resin through acid digestion (in the case of laminate) or solubilization with solvent (for pre-preg).   

In the past years the company has grown significantly with renewed structures and laboratories: what are your expectations for 2019? 

TEC Eurolab’s growth testifies to the innovative service proposed to our customers. The chemical laboratory provides a complete testing service on composite materials, recently enriched by tests for the evaluation of their thermal features. Major players of the industrial sectors acknowledge our expertise and promptness in carrying out analyses and this inspires us to grow even more.
 
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