We’re thrilled to join in the celebration of the inaugural National Composites Week and look forward to the awareness and recognition of the importance of composites.
At CTL, we’ve seen firsthand the progression of advanced composite materials from America’s most important projects in aerospace to everyday life. From planes, trains, and space shuttles to prosthetics and golf clubs, composites testing has never been more in demand and vital to our economy and lives.
The engineering and management team at CTL is excited to share with you some of our insights and thoughts on the history and current contributions of composite testing in modern society.
Celebrating the Inaugural National Composites Week
I applaud fellow Cincinnatians A&P Technology, along with Hexcel and media partner CompositesWorld Magazine for organizing and launching National Composites Week. Now that composite materials have integrated into every facet of our lives, this dedicated period compels businesses like ours to acknowledge the importance of these advanced materials to our society and to celebrate global contributions to the advancement of composites, especially in the aerospace industry.
Since our founding in the late 1940s, we have celebrated notable contributions like testing of Apollo’s heat shield and even held manned space flight certifications for NASA’s Space Shuttle program. Today, our engineers support research and development initiatives, Small Business Innovation Research activities, and production hardware screening. We also provide expert-level services to failure investigations and support legal cases by providing expert testimony.
Dave Abeln, Vice President CTL
The Evolution of Composites
CTL has been at the forefront of composite testing from the very beginning of our company. Technology and process improvements have helped revolutionize the infusion of composites into our everyday world. With such a diverse range of materials and capabilities, we continue to excel in the challenges of testing for higher strengths, extreme temperatures and more sophisticated tests.
We see composite materials in all aspects of our lives. Aerospace & automotive applications, trains, bridges, prosthetics, golf clubs, wind turbines and space rockets are some of the many examples of composites today. With the use of these composites, research and testing becomes necessary to bring these products into existence.
The advantages that composites can offer versus conventional materials keep interest extremely high in utilizing their benefits wherever possible. In aerospace, the use of polymeric and ceramic composites have allowed for significant weight reductions and fuel efficiencies. The same benefits are gained with the land transportation industry. Wind turbines continue to grow in size and electric output due the weight and design improvements. Space exploration is changing with more integration of composites in major parts of the rockets and capsules.
All of these developments lead the companies within the industries back to their original need and understanding of the materials’ mechanical properties. Most of the industries have depended on organizations such as ASTM to develop and maintain test standards that can be applied into their design and modeling. ASTM has a large number of committees that deal with a wide range of standards and materials. CTL has participated for many years with the D30 Committee which was created in 1964. We currently have Scott Smith serving as secretary and Mike Booker as sub-committee chair for D30.04.
CTL was chosen as the pilot laboratory for the Nadcap Non-Metallic Materials Testing Labs program and still holds this accreditation today as well as also being accredited to Nadcap’s Materials Testing Laboratories for metallic materials.
Additionally, CTL is accredited to the International Standard ISO/IEC 17025:2005, General Requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories.
Our involvement with these institutions and long term expertise within the composite testing world will continue to position CTL as a global leader when it comes to composite testing.
Mike Booker, Engineering Program Manager CTL
Our Range of Services
Our organizational structure makes it easy to grow and change with the industry. We have the flexibility to expand our capacity or even add new services once our customers have expressed a need. In recent years, for example, we have added thermal property testing services, improved our damage tolerance testing capabilities by bringing the NDI portion in-house, developed additional high temperature testing technologies, and increased our capacities for long-term humidity conditioning and fatigue cycling. To reduce bottlenecks through our system, we take advantage of employee cross-training to place additional resources in specific departments as needed.
With a special focus on project management, we intend to make the testing process as simple as possible for our customers. Our engineers are routinely involved with industry standard tests as well as custom tests that may require some “outside the box” thinking. Once we receive the test material and understand how you plan to use the data, we’ll keep in contact to discuss our progress. We treat every test program with a high level of procedural scrutiny to ensure that you are getting the highest quality possible.
Ken Kramig, Engineering Manager CTL