How is the Mechanical Systems Laboratory equipped?
For thermal testing, the most important items are two medium-sized vacuum chambers (usable volume - 850 mm diameter by 1.5 m long and 1.9 m long), either of which can be used with a 350 mm beam solar simulator. There is also a small thermal vacuum chamber (shroud size - 550 mm diameter by 1 m long), a calorimeter for measuring the thermal efficiency of Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI), facilities for measuring coefficients of thermal and moisture expansion, and an infrared camera for non-intrusive temperature measurements. Depending on the selected facilities and the type of test, the attainable temperatures range from 10 K to 390 K.
A thermal vacuum cycling facility consisting of a hot (max 550 deg C) and cold (min -150 deg C) compartments is under development. The test specimen (in a volume of 650 mm X 500 mm x 350 mm) is moved between the compartments to achieve fast thermal cycling.
For mechanical testing, the principal equipment comprises two vibration systems capable of sine, random and shock excitation, with 2 kN and 5 kN force. The systems share a 32-channel data acquisition system of active accelerometers. Suitable test adapters can be designed. There is also a low-vibration, temperature-regulated vacuum test facility, a stable optical table and a variety of strain, force and displacement measuring equipment.
The Laboratory has also access to a powerful thermal computing facilities and associated software tools for designing test set-ups, modelling, conducting post-test thermal correlation and performing the general analysis of test results.
Last update: 3 May 2010