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The recent, exploratory project was undertaken by two students from the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), University of Cambridge, to assess the uses of portable Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) across various composite markets on behalf of Analytik.
The instrument at the centre of the project was the Agilent 4100 ExoScan Handheld FTIR spectrometer, which Analytik says has received a tremendous amount of interest for the effective, non-destructive means of measuring and monitoring composite materials. It has been used successfully as a portable FTIR system to detect the degradation of the composite’s resin component in aircraft parts, which can be caused by heat, UV light and lightning strikes. As a result, the system finds itself included in the Boeing 787 non-destructive testing manual.
Analytik says that a key advantage of the FTIR technique in assessing composite heat damage is that it can detect damage resulting in chemical change long before visible or structural changes become apparent. Coupled with portability, the ExoScan offers a convenient and unique instrument to inspect composites, both in and out of a testing lab.
Working within a two-week time frame, students Nicolas Parisot and Kartikeya Bhadada mapped out the various markets and communicated with key personnel from a wide range of different companies and organisations. The key objective was to understand the exact requirements of the composite industry and the benefits offered by a portable handheld FTIR instrument.
This project generated a lot of interest from the Formula 1, aerospace, wind turbine and pre-preg composite-manufacturing sectors. Many of the contacts have since requested a demonstration and feasibility trial using the ExoScan system.
Findings of the project were successfully presented to other IfM students, Analytik employees and a senior director from Agilent Technologies. Everyone was very impressed with the level of work accomplished in such a short space of time. Feedback and comments from the study will help both Agilent and Analytik with their Handheld FTIR marketing and sales activities.
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