National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Fatigue and Structures (FAST) Laboratory

The Academites were given the opportunity to tour the Fatigue and Structural Testing (FAST) Laboratory on July 19th. This facility is designed to support Aeronautics and Space materials characterization for the FAA, working with high temperature shape memory materials, fracture propagation, and various ceramics. The FAST Lab has the capability of performing Axial Torsion testing with 5,000 lbf for gram-sized samples, and 20,000 – 50,000 lbf rigs for larger samples. They even have a 400,000 lbf axial torsion rig in construction for testing a tri-braided carbon tube.

Rather than use strain gauges to measure the strain experienced by a sample under a load, the FAST lab utilizes a remote, non-invasive method. The strain gauge is physically anchored to the sample and is measuring the forces on an isolated point in the structure. Instead, they speckle paint the sample and use high speed video footage to track the movement of individual points throughout testing.

The FAST lab performed a test for the Academites, crushing a coke can and comparing it to a Red Bull can. The coke can peaked at under 100 lbf, while the Red Bull can proved more resilient, reaching 138 lbf before buckling.