Resources and facilities

Composites Manufacture (contact)

Our laboratories are equipped with a range of manufacturing and test equipment:

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities has a Formech 686 vacuum forming machine.

Rapid Prototyping (contact)

The Faculty has:

  • a 100 watt laser cutter/engraver with a 1 metre square bed,
  • two Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) rapid prototyping machines compatible with STL:
    • MakerBot Replicator 2:
      low quality concept development machine for PLA with x-, y-, z- build Platform of 285 x 153 x 155 mm and tolerance of 0.2mm and non-soluble support material.
    • Stratasys Dimension 1200es:
      advanced industrial-standard Machine for ABSplus with a build area of 254 x 254 x 305 mm and 1200es BST (breakable support) or 1200es SST (soluble support).
  • Markforged Mark Two reinforcing parts with composite fiber while 3D printing.
  • NextEngine laser 3D desktop scanner with these technical specifications.

Mechanical testing (contact)

We can test materials and components on a range of accredited laboratory machines.  Test programmes can be either quick stand-alone evaluations, composites 'forensic' work, or form part of a wider programme of work involving design or optimisation.   Our Structural Integrity Laboratory has a range of machines for tension/compression, torsion, fatigue and creep including:

  • Avery/Instron 1000 kN universal testing rig*
  • Instron 5582 screw-driven 100 kN universal test machine
  • Instron 4301 screw-driven 50 kN universal test machine
  • Instron 3345 screw-driven 500 N universal test machine
  • Instron 8501 servohydraulic 100 kN dynamic
  • Instron ElectroPuls 3000 3 kN dynamic electromagnetic fatigue machine
  • Instron MDS 666C high temperature chamber
  • Instron high temperature 4-point bend rig
  • Dantec Q-400 digital image correlation system

* The Avery/Instron 1000 kN universal (tension/compression/bending) testing machine (contact) has ~1.1 m daylight and 120 mm long wedge-action grips (for round bars up to 25 mm diameter, or 100x18 mm plate) for tension specimens; bending beam test spans can be up to 4.5m (load restricted to 500 kN at full span).

Materials characterisation and non-destructive testing (contact)

Microscopy and surface quality assessment

The School of Marine Science and Engineering has a suite of microscopy and surface analysis equipment including:

The Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre also has a unique range of electron microscopes, shared by biologists, geologists and materials engineers.  The suite of instruments currently comprises three scanning microscopes and one transmission microscope:

  • JEOL JSM-7001F field-emission SEM with X-ray (EDS, WDS, EBSD) microanalysis
    • Oxford Instruments AzTEC EDS for rapid qualitative & quantitative element identification
    • Oxford Instruments AzTEC WDS for trace element analysis to ppm levels
    • Oxford Instruments INCA EBSD for crystallographic investigation of materials samples including mineral analysis
  • JEOL JSM-6610LV 30 kV 3nm resolution low-vacuum scanning electron microscope
    • Oxford Instruments AzTEC EDS for rapid qualitative & quantitative element identification
    • Quorum Technology P3000T advanced Cryo- SEM for the analysis of frozen fully hydrated tissue samples and slurries
  • JEOL JSM-5600LV low-vacuum SEM for observation of non-conducting, uncoated specimens
    • Oxford Instruments INCA 200 EDS for rapid qualitative & quantitative element identification
  • JEOL JEM-1400 120 kV tomography capable TEM
    • GATAN Orius digital camera and image analysis system

The High Performance Computing (HPC) resource

Complementary facilities on the South West peninsula include

tension1.jpg (19553 bytes)


tension3.jpg (19737 bytes)


tension6.jpg (19042 bytes)

Tensile test on a carbon fibre/epoxy specimen.