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Graphic element Research > Growth > Research projects > Measurements & testing projects > Setting standards for mechanical behaviour at high temperatures
Graphic element Setting standards for mechanical behaviour at high temperatures
    29-05-2002
 
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Standardisation is vital for the testing of high temperature materials used in safety-critical industries such as power generation, surface transport, defence, aerospace and aeronautics.

The high temperature technology sector is of major industrial and economic importance to the EU. It is therefore crucial that Europe take a leading role in the development of international testing standards.

According to Marc Steen of the Joint Research Centre's Institute for Energy in the Netherlands, "Working towards harmonisation in this field is a major priority for the Commission's measurements and testing activities. A range of components can be affected by high temperatures, including train wheels and brakes, aircraft and ship engines, components used in gas turbines for power generation, and compressors for gas and oil pipelines. Leaving this kind of research to laboratories elsewhere would result in Member States adopting guidelines compiled without reference to European industries."

In this context, the EU is funding a number of projects, many of these were selected on the basis of the system of 'dedicated calls'

Setting standards for thermo-mechanical fatigue testing (TMF-STANDARD)
 

Thermo-mechanical fatigue (TMF) is a major cause of component failure in industrial machinery and structures exposed to temperature conditions and mechanical loads that change over time. TMF affects a range of components, including train wheels and brakes, aircraft and ship engines, components used in gas turbines for power generation, and compressors for gas and oil pipelines.

Efforts to improve the design, life prediction and overall safety of components prone to TMF have been ongoing for the past 30 years. A test analysing the performance of these materials has been developed allowing researchers to 'tune' each test to match the component's service conditions. However, this flexibility makes it impossible to compare test results from different labs. A validated standard for TMF testing is urgently needed.

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) set up a working group to draft a TMF testing standard. Progress towards achieving a balanced document has been hampered because of the lack of pre-normative R&D. The aim of this study is to coordinate EU input to the ISO working group and to provide the technical basis that will enable researchers to define all test-related aspects of the draft standard.

 
Assessing performance of high temperature materials (COTEST)
 

Failure of materials at high temperature can have devastating consequences. For instance, in the case of aircraft engine failure, it can mean expensive grounding periods for planes or in extreme cases, i.e. mid-flight, serious loss of life. Improving the performance of such materials is crucial.

In response to demands for a simple and cost-effective way to assess material behaviour under high temperature, the cyclic oxidation test was developed. While this is a most valuable testing method, no guidelines exist allowing researchers to compare and validate test results. To resolve this, researchers are developing a set of testing guidelines. This will allow European manufacturers to issue certificates with their high temperature materials proving that their product has been tested following reliable guidelines. It is estimated that certification will lead to a 5-10% increase in European sales.

 
Ceramic and carbon fibres - validation of test methods (VAFTEM)
 

Fibres known as Ceramic Matrix Composites and Carbon Matric Composites (CMCs) offer huge potential for high temperature structural applications because of their superior thermal and mechanical properties compared to conventional materials. CMCs are lightweight and offer excellent resistance at extremely high temperatures (up to 3000°C).

The EU currently dominates the CMC market in several sectors. In order to safeguard this competitive edge, Europe must reduce its dependence on fibres produced in the US and Japan. Before this can happen, it is necessary to provide the industry with a set of reliable test methods that will allow independent determination of critical fibre property data.

A three-year EU-funded project currently underway aims to develop these test methods. Once available, these tests will lead to standards that are mutually agreed between manufacturers and users of CMCs.

 
Development and harmonisation of testing for creep crack growth (CRETE)
 

The need for accurate creep crack growth (CCG) data for reliable assessment of high temperature components in the nuclear and petrochemical industries is becoming urgent. This project is aimed at developing and harmonising CCG data generation and analysis procedures.

"These projects are all very important," says Steen, "and under the dedicated calls system researchers need no longer waste time preparing full-blown proposals which stand little chance of being funded."

 
Setting standards for thermo-mechanical fatigue testing
Assessing performance of high temperature materials
Ceramic and carbon fibres - validation of test methods
Development and harmonisation of testing for creep crack growth
   

Key data

The European Union is funding a number of projects contributing to the creation of testing methods used to characterise the mechanical behaviour of materials at high temperature.

Actions

TMF-STANDARD - Thermo-mechanical fatigue - the route to standardisation (G6RD-2001-00526);

COTEST - Cyclic oxidation testing - development of a code of practice for the characterisation of high temperature materials performance (G6RD-2001-00639);

VAFTEM - Ceramic and carbon fibres: validation of testing methods (GRRD-2001-00523);

CRETE - Creep crack growth: development and harmonisation of testing for new industrial specimens - a route to a European code of practice (G6RD-2001-00527).

     

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