Dynamic load testing for design validation

Paul Boughton

Mars Labs, a manufacturer of rugged, high-performance data acquisition for aerospace, automotive, off-road , military, and test and measurement applications, has introduced the Titan CPU Expander for its modular DAQ system for use in larger-channel-count commercial and military aircraft design validation and durability testing.

In static strength testing for aircraft wings and airframes, data must be acquired on the aerospace structural response to applied loads. This type of testing is commonly used to simulate the loads applied by large transient forces such as wind shear, which can have significant mechanical effects on aircraft performance and mechanical integrity.

Depending on the size of the structure undergoing testing, the DAQ channel count requirements can range anywhere from a few hundred up to a few thousand.

The data are used to compare the empirically derived and simulated mechanical response of the structure under test and thus verify its design integrity.

In addition to static strength testing, the structures are also subjected to cyclic loading to replicate vibrations experienced during normal operation.  The resultant high volumes of synchronized data, collected as the structure reacts to applied loads and vibrations, are then analysed to assess aircraft wing or airframe strength and durability under such conditions.

Because of the large number of DAQ channels involved in testing, a high-channel-count, large distributed DAQ system is required to obtain dynamic frequency measurements, which range from static, or steady state, to frequency bandwidths of up to 50Hz.

The modular Titan DAQ from Mars Labs, available in both standard and custom models, can be used for durability and fatigue, noise and vibration, shock, compression and acoustics measurements. It is expressly designed for direct integration with a wide range of sensing types, including IEPE-type piezoelectric (ICP, Piezotron, ISOTRON and others) accelerometers and microphones; full active bridge MEMS-based piezoresistive accelerometers; and quarter-, half-, and full-bridge strain gage transducers.

The Titan Mini-Recorder features 16 channels of low-drift, low-noise analogue front end with excellent stability for longer duration dynamic test requirements.

Additional features for aerospace wing and structural loading testing include 8-pole Butterworth filters and an improved 10-pole linear-phase filter; channel-count expandability; and analogue output support.

Each compact Titan CPU supports up to 8 Titan Mini-Recorders, providing communications, synchronization, and data storage for the attached devices and enabling the creation of DAQ systems with up to 128 analogue channels plus digital channels.

To address the application's need for higher channel counts to acquire sufficient structural performance data, the Titan CPU Expander connects multiple Titan CPUs together to create DAQ systems with up to 1024 analogue channels plus digital channels, with data recorded directly to an internal 16 GB SD card (with support for 32 GB) or to a host PC.

The connection of Titan units via the CPU Expander allows for significantly increased channel counts, meeting the high-channel count requirements of many aerospace related applications. Sampling rates are up to 2500 samples/s and the system also features auto start/auto record as well as a cabled remote control for remote start/stop of recording. The compact, low-weight, rugged system provides power, communication and synchronisation via Ethernet cable.

For more information, visit www.marslabs.com