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NPL acquires Indentation Plastometer from Plastometrex

The UK's National Physical Laboratory added the novel mechanical test equipment to characterize additively manufactured metals

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The National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the UK’s national metrology institute, recently added to its testing capability by acquiring an Indentation Plastometer from Plastometrex. The novel testing technology is powered by advanced algorithms which enable it to extract metal stress-strain curves from a 5-minute indentation-based test. NPL is using the device to rapidly characterise the mechanical properties of metallic materials, including those made via additive manufacturing (AM).

The Indentation Plastometer is ideally suited to testing AM materials because of its unique ability to test small and complex shapes, both quickly and affordably. These benefits render the technology a powerful enabler for the adoption of additive manufacturing, providing users with the data they need to make confident and informed engineering decisions. Initially, NPL will be utilising the technology to test the strength of complex lattice structures and small parameter cube samples made by laser powder bed fusion.

NPL acquires Indentation Plastometer from Plastometrex, a novel mechanical test equipment to characterize additively manufactured metals
The Indentation Plastometer is a benchtop mechanical testing device that extracts metal stress-strain curves from indentation test data.

Tony Fry, Principal Scientist at NPL had this to say about the purchase of the new equipment: “The Indentation Plastometer allows us to characterise the properties of finely structured parts in an entirely new way. The data allows us to build up a more comprehensive picture of the properties of parts made via additive manufacturing, deepening our understanding of the process.”

Plastometrex and NPL are  working on several projects. These include supporting the standardization of the technology, utilising the tool in the AM market, and the development of Plastometrex’s upcoming high-temperature system, HotPIP.

Professor Bill Clyne, Chief Scientific Officer at Plastometrex, added  this about the relationship: “We are delighted to be working with NPL, a world-leading organisation in this field. We are looking forward to collaborating with them on several projects that push the frontier of measurement technology for the benefit of the economy and the environment.”

NPL provides the measurement capability that underpins the UK’s prosperity and quality of life. From new antibiotics to tackle resistance and more effective cancer treatments, to secure quantum communications and superfast 5G, technological advances must be built on a foundation of reliable measurement to succeed. Building on over a century’s worth of expertise, our science, engineering and technology provide this foundation.

Based in Teddington, south-west London, NPL employs over 600 scientists. NPL also has regional bases across the UK, including at the University of Surrey, the University of Strathclyde, the University of Cambridge and the University of Huddersfield’s 3M Buckley Innovation Centre.

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