Best PracticesModeling & TestingA2P1071: Structural Dynamic Testing: A Key to Ensuring Structural Integrity

September 20, 2023


Material science tests are a critical factor in the safety and longevity of structures. They are carefully designed to confirm the structural resilience and performance of materials, identifying potential structural weaknesses or defects – and preventing catastrophic failures before they occur. Advanced Architectural Products’ (A2P) dynamic structural testing embodies an extensive approach that includes five distinct types of tests: fatigue testing, dynamic impact testing, dynamic mechanical analysis, hardness testing, and full-scale testing.

Fatigue Testing

Fatigue testing is crucial in evaluating how materials respond to cyclic loads over time. The process involves subjecting a material to repeated loading and unloading cycles, thereby mimicking the real-world conditions under which most structures operate.

The primary purpose of fatigue testing is to assess the durability of materials under cyclic stress conditions. By repeatedly applying stress to a material, fatigue tests can reveal the point at which the material begins to show signs of wear or damage, known as the “fatigue limit.” This information is essential in predicting the lifespan of a material under specific operational conditions.

Understanding the fatigue limit of materials contributes significantly to their optimization. It allows engineers to design and manufacture products that are sturdy, durable, and capable of withstanding the rigors of their intended use. This understanding also helps in preventing premature failure of materials and products, resulting in significant cost savings in the long run.

Fatigue testing, a core component of A2P’s dynamic structural testing suite, is a systematic procedure to evaluate material durability under cyclic loads. This process uses specialized machines such as servo-hydraulic or electrodynamic test equipment to apply repeated loading and unloading cycles on a material.

The servo-hydraulic fatigue testing machine, for instance, uses hydraulic power to apply loads, making it ideal for high-load and high-frequency applications. On the other hand, the electrodynamic machine uses electromagnetic force to apply loads, which is suitable for lower load and higher frequency testing.

These machines emulate real-world cyclic loading conditions by using actuators that move back and forth, exerting tension and compression forces on the material. The frequency and amplitude of these cycles can be adjusted to simulate different operational conditions.

Through this process, we can determine the fatigue limit of a material, which is the maximum stress it can withstand indefinitely without showing signs of failure. Fatigue testing helps optimize material performance, identify potential weaknesses, and ultimately contribute to the production of durable and long-lasting products.

Real-world applications of fatigue testing are abundant, particularly in industries where materials are subjected to repeated stress, such as the automotive, aerospace, and construction industries. For instance, in the automotive industry, components like engine parts and suspension systems are routinely fatigue tested to ensure they can withstand the cyclic loads experienced during a vehicle’s operation. Similarly, in the aerospace industry, aircraft components are subjected to fatigue tests to ensure their durability under varying flight and weather conditions.

Dynamic Impact Testing

Dynamic Impact Testing, another fundamental aspect of A2P’s dynamic structural testing practices, is a procedure designed to evaluate the impact resistance of materials, particularly composites. This test involves subjecting the material to rapid loading conditions that simulate real-world impact scenarios, such as collisions or falls. A mainstay in various industries from automotive to aerospace, several machines and mechanisms are utilized in this process, each designed to simulate different real-world impact conditions.

The importance of Dynamic Impact Testing lies in its ability to assess how well composite materials can withstand high strain-rate loading. It provides critical data on the material’s energy absorption capacity, fracture toughness, and damage tolerance under sudden impact. This information is invaluable in improving overall material performance by identifying and addressing potential weaknesses, thereby enhancing the material’s durability and longevity.

For instance, in the automotive industry, dynamic impact testing is used to assess the crashworthiness of car components. By understanding how materials respond to sudden impacts, engineers can design safer vehicles that better protect occupants during collisions. Similarly, in the aerospace industry, this testing method is applied to evaluate the impact resistance of aircraft structures and materials, contributing to safer and more efficient aircraft designs.

In the field of sports equipment manufacturing, dynamic impact testing plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and performance of protective gear like helmets and pads. By assessing the gear’s ability to absorb and distribute impact forces, manufacturers can improve their designs to offer better protection for athletes.

In most cases, the results of dynamic impact testing are quantified by measuring the energy absorbed by the material during the test. This is typically done by comparing the potential energy of the impact device before the test to its residual potential energy after the test. Other measurements, such as deformation, displacement, and fracture patterns, can also provide insights into the material’s behavior under impact.

Dynamic impact testing, a key component of A2P’s dynamic structural testing suite, is a technically rigorous process designed to evaluate how materials respond when subjected to rapid loading conditions. This test involves delivering a high-speed load or impact to the material specimen and capturing the response.

The execution of dynamic impact testing involves the use of specialized equipment, like drop towers or pendulum impact testers, which generate controlled impacts on the test sample. The load or impact is applied at a specific velocity and direction, simulating real-world sudden force conditions as accurately as possible.

The results of dynamic impact testing are obtained by measuring parameters such as deflection, energy absorption, and fracture characteristics. High-speed cameras and sensors record the event in real time, providing data that is processed and analyzed to assess the material’s behavior under sudden impact. The interpretation of these results helps in understanding the material’s toughness, ductility, and strength under impact loads.

Materials are often rated based on their energy absorption capacity and resilience under impact. For instance, materials with high impact resistance, such as certain alloys or polymers, may absorb a significant amount of energy before fracturing, earning them a high rating in dynamic impact tests.

Dynamic impact testing is particularly relevant in industries like automotive, aerospace, and defense, where materials need to withstand sudden shocks or impacts. For example, the safety ratings of vehicles often depend on the performance of their components in dynamic impact tests. Similarly, the durability of military equipment is often gauged through rigorous impact testing.

Overall, dynamic impact testing provides invaluable insights into a material’s performance under sudden loading conditions, enabling the design of safer, more robust products. It is an integral part of A2P’s commitment to delivering superior, reliable materials.

In essence, Dynamic Impact Testing is a vital tool in the quest for superior material performance. It not only aids in the creation of safer and more durable products but also contributes significantly to A2P’s commitment to delivering excellence in all aspects of material testing and evaluation.

Dynamic Mechanical Analysis

Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) testing is a powerful tool that not only allows us to understand a material’s inherent properties but also enables us to predict its future performance. One of the major advantages of Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) is its ability to pinpoint cracks and defects at an early stage, allowing for timely intervention and prevention of potential failures. DMA involves the application of a small oscillating force or displacement to a sample and measuring its response – essentially “shaking” the material and studying how it “reacts”.

The beauty of DMA lies in its versatility. It can characterize a material’s viscoelastic properties. This gives us a comprehensive understanding of how the material behaves under different conditions. It is also unique in its ability to detect and measure transitions within materials, such as the glass transition temperature. The glass transition temperature is a critical point where a material transitions from a brittle, glassy state to a more flexible, rubbery state. By identifying these transitions, DMA can provide valuable insights into how a material will perform under different environmental conditions.

Further, DMA offers the advantage of time-temperature superposition (TTS). TTS is a method that allows us to predict a material’s long-term behavior using short-term test data. By testing the material at various frequencies and temperatures, we can construct a master curve that represents the material’s properties over an extended period. This is particularly useful in industries where materials need to withstand long-term stress, such as in construction or aerospace applications.

In terms of practical application, DMA is widely used in the development and quality control of various materials. In the automotive industry, for instance, it’s used to test the durability of rubber components like tires and seals. In the field of biomedical engineering, it’s used to analyze the viscoelastic properties of biomaterials used in implants and prosthetics.

DMA testing provides crucial insights into the viscoelastic properties of GreenGirt® Composite Metal Hybrid (CMH™) and SMARTci® systems. By applying cyclic deformations and measuring the material’s response, DMA testing reveals our material’s stiffness, damping properties, and transition points. This allows us to ensure GreenGirt’s reliability and longevity in varying environmental conditions.

Hardness (Barcol & Shore)

In the realm of dynamic structural testing, hardness testing, particularly Barcol and Shore A&D testing, plays a pivotal role. Hardness testing is a method used to measure the resistance of a material to indentation, providing critical data about its strength, flexibility, and durability. This information is vital in dynamic structural testing, where understanding a material’s hardness can greatly influence the design, quality control, and lifespan of a product.

Hardness testing serves diverse roles in characterizing the indentation hardness of various materials. For instance, the Barcol hardness test is commonly used on softer materials like rigid plastics and aluminum alloys, while the Shore A&D tests are typically employed for rubber and softer plastics. The ability to differentiate hardness between various materials is crucial, as it allows engineers to select the most suitable material for specific applications.

Understanding the depth of penetration of an indentor during hardness testing is also of significant importance. This data provides valuable insights into the material’s resistance to wear and tear, and its ability to maintain form under pressure. Furthermore, environmental variables such as temperature, humidity, and pressure can greatly affect a material’s hardness and, consequently, its performance over time. Therefore, these factors must be taken into account during hardness testing.

Hardness testing has substantial real-world implications. For example, in the aerospace industry, it is used to ensure that materials can withstand the intense pressures and temperatures experienced during flight. Similarly, in the construction industry, hardness testing of Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) CMH girts is critical. These girts, which are used as horizontal members in wall panels, must have their hardness tested to ensure they can withstand the weight of the structure and resist environmental conditions.

In conclusion, hardness testing, including Barcol and Shore A&D methods, is an essential aspect of dynamic structural testing. By providing critical data on a material’s resistance to indentation, hardness testing allows for informed decision making in material selection, contributing to safer, more efficient, and longer-lasting products and structures.

Full-Scale Testing

Full-scale testing involves evaluating structures, components, and systems under realistic conditions to ensure they perform as intended. This method is often considered the final design verification, providing a comprehensive assessment that checks the assumptions used in the design.

A full-scale test involves simulating the loads and environmental conditions that the structure will face in its actual setting. Depending on the structure’s purpose, these could include static loads such as the weight of the structure itself, dynamic loads like wind or seismic activities, and other factors like temperature and humidity. The aim is to recreate as closely as possible the conditions that the structure will experience over its lifespan.

The importance of realistic testing conditions cannot be overstated. It allows for the identification of potential weaknesses and the assessment of the combined relationships of critical elements. For instance, it can highlight how different components interact under load, revealing any unforeseen issues that could compromise the structure’s integrity.

In essence, full-scale testing provides a realistic assessment of the critical elements of a structure. It uncovers how the structure will respond to real-world conditions, providing invaluable data that can guide design modifications, if necessary, to enhance performance and safety.

Full-scale testing has found wide application in various fields. For example, in aerospace engineering, it’s used to assess the structural performance and durability of aircraft components under realistic conditions. In civil engineering, it’s used to test the robustness of building prototypes under simulated loads. For GreenGirt Composite Metal Hybrid (CMH) sub-framing, using full-scale testing is crucial as it ensures the reliability and safety of their constructions, ultimately leading to better, safer, and more durable structures.


In conclusion, A2P’s dynamic structural testing practices represent a comprehensive and meticulous approach to ensuring the integrity, safety, and durability of materials. From hardness testing to DMA testing, these methods offer a deep understanding of how materials behave under various conditions and stresses. They provide essential data that can significantly influence the design, quality control, and lifespan of a product. Moreover, the testing procedures take into account environmental variables such as temperature, humidity, and pressure, highlighting A2P’s commitment to real-world applicability. The importance of these testing practices extends across industries, from aerospace to construction, underscoring their universal relevance. As we continue to push the boundaries of material science and engineering, the role of dynamic structural testing practices like those employed by A2P will only grow more critical.

For more information on A2P’s structural dynamic testing, visit our website or contact us today!


© 2023 Advanced Architectural Products

If you wish to receive our latest news, sign up for our mailing list!

Advanced Architectural Products Logo

Creating engineered best practice continuous insulation solutions, while leaving the world a better place than when we started.


If you wish to receive our latest news in your email box, just subscribe to our newsletter!

959 Industrial Drive, Allegan, MI 49010  |  (269) 355-1818

© Copyright 2024 Advanced Architectural Products. All Rights Reserved.

Patents Privacy Policy