Structural integrity and non‑destructive evaluation facilities

Structural Integrity and Non‑Destructive Evaluation Facilities

The Structural Integrity and Non‑Destructive Evaluation facilities conduct research and technology development on the design, strength, durability, structural integrity, characterization, testing, and inspection of new and legacy aircraft structures, components and materials. We evaluate environmental effects and complex failure modes, such as corrosion and multi‑site damage/widespread fatigue damage. We develop advanced software for fatigue and damage tolerance analysis, and perform quantitative risk/reliability analysis for fleet management decision‑making.

The Structural Full Scale Testing laboratory uses uni‑axial & bi‑axial loading, servo‑hydraulic and electro‑mechanical testing systems, with loading capabilities up to 220,000 lbs. It has large‑scale test equipment, including fully adaptable test rigging, hydraulic actuators and load cells, multi‑channel DAQ systems, hot/wet conditioning chamber, corrosion test equipment, and environmental testing chambers, including a temperature control chamber.

We use digital image correlation, photoelasticity, thermoelastic stress analysis, and high speed camera and imaging tools to measure non‑contact strain and displacement at multiple length and time scales. We're also capable of measuring structural response to external loads and residual stress. We can simulate the effect of high speed events such as explosions using advanced optical and X‑ray diffraction techniques. Damage is monitored using advanced fibre optics, piezoelectric systems, micro‑electro‑mechanical systems, and nanosensors.

The Non‑Destructive Evaluation laboratory has specialized evaluation technologies that inspect for abnormalities including manufacturing defects or damage. It performs strategic research in non‑destructive evaluation, and supports fee‑for‑service inspection work using techniques that include visual and enhanced optical, liquid penetrant, magnetic particle, ultrasonics, eddy current, radiography, infrared thermography, laser shearography, and other electromagnetic methods.

Why work with us

The Structural Integrity and Non‑Destructive Evaluation team performs strategic research projects with various internal and external partners, universities and government agencies. We have played a major role in the development programs of numerous aircraft, and have a long history of supporting the Royal Canadian Air Force. Our researchers have helped achieve faster commissioning and testing times, and developed proofs of concept that save our clients and partners money.

We use specialized computational tools for advanced structural analysis, multiple‑site damage analysis, risk/reliability analysis, and durability and damage tolerance analysis. Our work centres on structural finite element analysis, testing‑modelling integration, and physics‑based holistic structural integrity process (HOLSIP) models.

The structural integrity and non‑destructive evaluation facilities are capable of working with a wide variety of materials, including monolithic metals, carbon fibre composite laminates, fibre metal laminates and honeycomb or foam core structures, as well as coatings, welding, conventional and additive manufacturing, and adhesive bonding.

Our capabilities

We have the expertise and test evaluation capability to support fleet managers' decision‑making on the safety of aircraft structures—both within the bounds of certified flight envelopes and beyond the original design duration.

We continually upgrade equipment at the structural integrity and non‑destructive evaluation  facilities to meet evolving technical needs. We use both state‑of‑the‑art technologies and traditional equipment, and have an on‑site machine shop equipped to support our operations. Our facilities include a high‑speed load frame, bi‑axial testing, computed radiography, modern data acquisition and control systems, and advanced diagnostics. We also have the capability to use computer‑aided design (CAD) for test‑rig design and fabrication. We use finite element analysis tools for advanced structural analysis, in‑house tools for multiple‑site damage analysis and risk/reliability analysis, and durability and damage tolerance analysis tools.

Our services

  • Non‑destructive inspection and evaluation of materials and structures
  • Non‑destructive inspection reliability and probability of detection study
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Structural experimental mechanics including digital image correlation and thermoelastic stress analysis
  • Advanced structural analysis and design optimization

Areas of expertise

The structural integrity and non‑destructive evaluation  facility supports NRC research programs in aerospace and other fields, and does collaborative and R&D contract service work with internal and external partners, universities and government agencies.

Our expertise includes:

  • certification testing
  • life extension of aircraft fleets
  • structural health monitoring
  • structural life assessment
  • load monitoring
  • experimental stress mechanics
  • fatigue life enhancement—hole cold expansion measurement, analysis and test.
  • data analytics
  • non‑destructive evaluation technology development
  • non‑destructive evaluation and structural modelling
  • non‑destructive evaluation of additive manufacturing
  • non‑destructive evaluation of composite
  • inspection reliability assessment
  • technology qualification
  • non‑destructive evaluation application/support

Contact us

Business Development Team
Aerospace Research Centre


NRC Aerospace Research Centre (link to Google maps)
Buildings M‑3 and M‑14, Information/Security Building M‑1
1200 Montreal Road
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0R6

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