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A new room in the Composites & Advanced Materials Lab of the National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University will allow NIAR research engineer Royal Lovingfoss and his coworkers to provide more thorough material inspections at an even faster pace.
“Materials will be prepared, tested, analyzed and reported from one central location,” Lovingfoss said. “This should reduce data turnaround time.”
The new area will contain thermal, physical and chemical characterization instruments—one of them a new Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectrometer.
“This gives us the ability to help clients with raw material inspections, final product inspection, product comparison and contamination studies on a chemical level,” Lovingfoss said.
“For example, let’s say a client routinely makes a type of structural part for an aerospace company. The part is routinely tested for flexural strength, and all of a sudden the part is no longer as strong.
“An investigation is started, and it is found that there could be questions about the chemical makeup of the part because of overheating, raw material issues, etc. We can test the material and compare it to a known standard to show if chemical degradation or contamination has taken place.”
Lovingfoss, who joined the NIAR staff in June, will work in the new area with Soo-Han Loo, lab manager of thermal analysis, and a few other lab technicians.
“Most likely with expansion of the chemical and thermal testing needs, the number of technicians will grow,” he said.
Before he came to NIAR, Lovingfoss was employed for two years as a chemical test engineer at Toray Composites America, for one year at Microsoft as the manager of the X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Laboratory in the environmental compliance group, and for three-and-a-half years as an environmental compliance chemist for Am Test Air-Quality in Preston, Washington.
He graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in chemistry and a minor in mathematics.
“I came to NIAR to expand my knowledge and experience concerning composite materials,” Lovingfoss said. “I have found that the people I work with and the number of diverse projects I work on have fulfilled that need nicely.”
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