The materials and structures team within AVEC specialises in the design and testing of metallic and composite structures for transport application. 

AVEC provides access to state-of-the-art facilities to manufacture, characterise and test materials and vehicle components. Our labs can be used to design and test components for light weighting of new and existing components. The facilities allow testing of coupon, sub-structures and full-scale vehicles. 

The equipment available includes:

  • Two servo-hydraulic testing machines for static and dynamic loading with load capacity up to 100 kN
  • An electromechanical testing machine (Instron) for static testing up to 5 kN
  • High and low velocity gas gun for testing on metallic and composites panels with velocity up to 300 m/s – the setup allows for force measurements during impact
  • Tri-Function Hopkinson Bar for material testing at very high strain rate – the main components are a gas gun, a striker bar, an incident bar and a transmission bar that allows testing material in a range 102 to 104 s−1

AVEC has an established collaboration with Cranfield Impact Centre (CIC) based on the Cranfield campus. CIC is an internationally-respected facility with expertise in vehicle crashworthiness and occupant simulation. CIC conducts leading-edge research as well as providing confidential test facilities to commercial users. CIC has an FIA-accredited impact sled and was used to develop the F1 HALO driver head-protection system.

In conjunction with the AVEC facilities described above, CIC also offers:

  • High-energy capacity drop tower with velocity range of 0-8m/s, mass up to 350kg and maximum width of specimens in lateral direction of 1m, suitable for testing bus components, crush testing of automotive parts and barrier impacts
  • Falling mass drop tower to test a variety of specimens, including aluminium honeycomb, carbon fibre tubes, steering columns to FIA regulations and automotive trim components
  • R66 coach rollover rig that consists of a tilting platform 0.8m above the ground and is used to carry out full-scale bus rollover tests which conform to the ECE Regulation 66
  • Sled impact test facility to carry out dynamic testing of large sub-structures and components and determine crash pulses, or subject structures to pre-determined crash pulses

Using our facilities for your project

You can access our facilities either as part of a collaborative research project with AVEC, as a commercial consultancy engagement or as a piece of funded research.

Our clients include motorsport companies, automotive OEMs and supply chain companies. Eaton Automotive (now Xandor), Nissan, McLaren, Jaguar Land Rover, Prodrive and Red Bull Technology have used Cranfield’s lightweight structures and materials related facilities and equipment to support their testing, research and development programmes.