Measuring the properties of metals is critically important in many industries – for developing and optimising new alloys or processes, investigating failures or carrying out quality control workflows. Stress/strain curves and strength parameters are considered the gold standard of mechanical property data. However, measuring stress/strain curves relies on outdated technology (tensile testers) that is slow (hours), cumbersome, expensive and lacks flexibility.
A UK start-up has now developed a novel metal testing device. The technology uses an accelerated inverse finite element analysis method to extract accurate stress/strain data from a 3-minute indentation test. The technology includes bespoke hardware for creating a controlled indent and measuring its profile shape. This is combined with a proprietary software package that generates mechanical property data from residual indent profile shapes. The technology is applicable to all of the most common engineering metals and their alloys.
The device reduces testing times from hours to minutes compared to standard tensile tests. This can reduce R&D times and costs and allow through-process testing and optimisation. It requires minimal sample preparation and can test whole components. The device also extracts stress/strain curves in true (and nominal) form – providing the information needed to support finite element and engineering critical assessment workflows. Finally, through a mapping functionality the technology is able to plot the spatial variation of mechanical properties across parts, welds and failed surfaces, revealing entirely new insights.
The technology has been validated in extensive laboratory tests and industrial trials. The company is looking for partners and collaborators for trial testing, case studies further joint development under technical cooperation agreements. They also seek end users for commercial agreements with technical assistance.