Aerospace structures and materials performance

In Ottawa, NRC's Aerospace Research Centre conducts research on issues affecting the design, strength, durability, structural integrity and performance of new and legacy aircraft structures and components. We also develop new design, analysis, and manufacturing technologies for structures and materials, as well as for noise and vibration control. Technologies to support existing aircraft fleets are another area of study. We conduct research and technology development in these areas:

  • structural dynamics and impact simulation
  • acoustic and vibration testing and analysis
  • composite materials and process development
  • conductive heating technology for composite processing applications
  • novel metallic and hybrid structures and materials
  • force calibration
  • gas turbine high temperature materials
  • aerospace protective coatings and testing
  • gas turbine component life cycle management
  • non-destructive evaluation
  • experimental stress analysis
  • risk-reliability life assessment
  • structural testing, evaluation and health monitoring.

Test frames

NRC's Aerospace Research Centre offers equipment and expertise for structural testing and evaluation in a broad range of load and environmental conditions.These facilities complement a full-scale test bay for aerospace vehicles and components. The research centre also performs tests to confirm the structural integrity or demonstrate regulatory compliance of aerospace structures. All equipment is complemented by advanced data acquisition systems and inspection capabilities.

Uniaxial servo-hydraulic test frames

Uniaxial servo-hydraulic test frames

Uniaxial servo-hydraulic test frames

MTS 50 KIP planar biaxial test load frame with cruciform type specimen

MTS 50 KIP planar biaxial test load frame with cruciform type specimen

Closed-loop uniaxial test frames are rated between 22 (13) and 900 kN. They are computer-controlled, allowing customized static or cyclic tests. Each system includes data acquisition for monitoring load, strain and stroke. Additional channels are available for instrumentation.

The test frames range from 9 kN to 2,670 kN. Environmental chambers can be mounted for testing under temperatures from -70°C to 1000°C.

Biaxial servo-hydraulic tension-compression test frame

For cruciform type specimens, this test frame is rated for 225 kN along both axes. With a phase shift controller, tests can be carried out with tension on one axis and compression on the other.

Materials and structural testing and evaluation

NRC's Aerospace Research Centre performs a wide range of structural testing services and provides static and cyclic load tests on everything from simple coupons to full-scale aircraft. NRC Aerospace designs and manufactures both metallic and composite specimens, and performs impact tests on composite laminates or hybrid structures. Extensive work is performed to study the problems of aging aircraft, including fatigue, corrosion and multi-site damage.

NRC's Aerospace Research Centre uses the latest in non-destructive evaluation (NDE) methods to monitor test specimens. The NDE program is backed by a full analytical capability, including both linear and non-linear numerical analysis. Some of the structural testing equipment is unique. The cruciform biaxial test facility is the largest in Canada. The environmental test facility can apply load and environmental profiles simultaneously. The drop tower impact testing and corrosion testing are state-of-the-art facilities. NRC's Aerospace Research Centre also provides access to Canada's largest flight impact simulator.

Advanced data acquisition and analysis systems are backed by experienced researchers, whose expertise assures rapid and accurate data tailored to clients' needs.

Other competencies within structural testing include:

  • designing and developing test programs to meet airworthiness and space authorities' compliance standards
  • performing most American Society for Testing and Material (ASTM) tests
  • developing programs for computer-controlled load frames and
  • maintaining links with domestic and international testing organizations.

Contact us

Business Development Team
Aerospace Research Centre