Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hail Impact Testing Sets ITI-RCS Apart


Infinite Technologies, Inc. RCS is committed to achieving the highest levels of technical excellence and quality in all we do.  This is especially true in the design and fabrication of our composite structures. 
Radomes, and other such structures, must withstand a wide range of extreme environmental conditions.  This includes ultraviolet (UV) exposure, solar radiation, hurricane force winds, salt spray, rime ice accretion, and large hail impacts.  Because of our attention to detail and focus on quality, our composite structures have been proven to outperform the competition in these conditions.
 
As an example, ITI-RCS recently designed a structure intended to replace a radome manufactured by a leading competitor. Verification of the product included simulated hail impact testing of the panels used to assemble the radome, as can be seen below.  Rectangular specimens were cut out of both the legacy and replacement panels and impacted by a 3 inch diameter steel ball with a kinetic energy equivalent to hail traveling at 41 mph.  Prior to impact, the specimens were conditioned to both extreme low and high temperatures. 

Figure 2:  Results of large hail impacting test on ITI's panels.
Figure 2 shows the effect of the impacts on ITI’s design.  Two of the specimens showed minor cracking of the composite face sheets with shallow dimpling of the panel’s foam core.  The third showed minimal visual damage.  In all three cases the face sheets remained fully bonded to the core material, thus maintaining overall structural integrity.

As can be seen in Figure 3, the other manufacturer’s specimens did not fare so well.  In all three cases the composite face sheets completely disbonded from the panel core.  In addition, the foam cores were incapable of absorbing the impact energy, resulting in severe crushing, cracking, and loss of structural integrity.

The results of the hail impact testing typify the way ITI’s composite structures outperform the competition.  For more information about what ITI-RCS can do to ensure the success of your engineering project contact us, we would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Figure 3: Results of  hail impact testing on competitor panels.