Chemistry and
Physics of Materials

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Chemistry and Physics of Materials

Southern Research has developed unique and diverse testing capabilities and facilities to address specific problems that may be encountered in the applications of structural, insulative, and ablative materials in a variety of industries. Our highly skilled engineers and chemists offer clients extensive experience in characterizing materials and evaluating their performance in a range of applications and conditions. Our capabilities in chemistry and physics of materials testing include, but are not limited to, the following:

Material Chemistry

  • Moisture specific weight loss
  • Moisture absorptivity
  • Total carbon analysis
  • Oxidative mass loss from oxygen adsorbing materials
  • Kinetics of decomposition and gasification
  • Thermogravimetric weight changes at heating rates up to 3000°C/minute
  • Combined thermogravimetry/mass spectroscopy

 

Material Physics

  • Constituent mass and volume fractions in cured polymer-based composites
  • Swelling
  • Open, closed, and total porosity
  • Pore size distribution
  • Pyrolysis gas compressibility
  • Effective porosity

 

Mass Transport Characteristics

  • Moisture and solvent diffusion
  • Molecular diffusion through membranes
  • Gas permeability of consolidated media
  • Cryogenic to 2760°C (5000°F)
  • More than 16 orders of magnitude in permeability
  • As a function of material direction
  • Contiguous pore path characterization
  • Pore evolution as a function of environmental history
  • Hydrogen, methane, and nitrous oxide permeability
  • Gas permeability of unconsolidated media
  • Gas permeability as a function of combined applied mechanical stress and temperature
  • Permeability under biaxial- and tetra-axial strain or load
  • Permeability to air/oxygen cryogenic to 1425°F (2600°F)
  • Cryogenic permeability

 

SR has also developed facilities that are capable of reproducing and studying the pore pressure-induced delamination and plylift failure events under a variety of controlled conditions.

Multi-axial Stress/Strain Facility

SR utilizes an innovative multi-axial stress/strain facility for evaluating various fluid dynamics properties of materials under a range of applied conditions. This specialized facility has been used to measure the properties of fuel tanks for both the automotive and aerospace industries. Specifically, SR has measured the through thickness gas permeability of tankage materials while under predetermined levels of in-plane strain along four axes.

 

Dielectric Characterization Facility

SR has developed a unique facility dedicated to measuring the dielectric properties of materials for clients who have this specific need. Our facility provides the capability to measure nine electric and magnetic properties of materials, including real and imaginary permittivity, real and imaginary permeability, permittivity and permeability loss tangent, refractive index and phase, and conductivity. In addition, we offer the capability to evaluate materials at elevated temperatures and pressures ranging from ambient to vacuum.

 

Testing parameters in the dielectric characterization facility include:

  • Solid, fabric, and surface, up to 50mm diameter
  • Real and imaginary permittivity
  • Real and imaginary permeability
  • Permittivity and permeability loss tangent
  • Refractive index and phase
  • Conductivity
  • Solid, fabric, and surface measurements
  • Room temperature 45-9000 MHz
  • Elevated temperature to 1000°C (1800°F)
  • Vacuum – 101 kPa (0-14.7Psi)
  • Variety of gases
  • Frequency: 3300 to 4900 MHz

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