Analytik Ltd Student Project Investigates the Composite Industry for Portable FTIR Technology Applications for the Agilent 4100 ExoScan Handheld FTIR Spectrometer
28 May 2013

Analytik, leading suppliers of innovative analytical solutions to the UK and Ireland, reports on the student project investigating the composite industry for the Agilent 4100 ExoScan Handheld FTIR spectrometer's applications.

A recent, exploratory project has been undertaken by two students from the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), University of Cambridge, to assess the uses of portable FTIR across various composite markets on behalf of Analytik.

The instrument at the centre of the project was the Agilent 4100 ExoScan Handheld FTIR spectrometer, which has received a tremendous amount of interest for the effective, non-destructive means of measuring and monitoring composite materials. It has been used successfully as a portable FTIR system to detect the degradation of the composite's resin component in aircraft parts which can be caused by heat, UV light and lightning strikes and, as a result, finds itself included in the Boeing 787 non-destructive testing manual.

A key advantage of the FTIR technique in assessing composite heat damage is that it can detect damage resulting in chemical change long before visible or structural changes become apparent. Coupled with portability, the ExoScan offers a convenient and unique instrument to inspect composites both in and out of a testing lab. Working within a two week time frame, students, Nicolas Parisot and Kartikeya Bhadada, mapped out the various markets and communicated with key personnel from a wide range of different companies and organizations. The key objective was to understand the exact requirements of the composite industry and the benefits offered by a portable handheld FTIR instrument.

This project generated a lot of interest from sectors including Formula 1, Aerospace, Wind Turbine and pre-preg composite manufacturers. Many of the contacts have since requested a demonstration and feasibility trial work using the ExoScan system.

Findings of the project were successfully presented to other IfM students along with Analytik Ltd employees and a senior director from Agilent Technologies, manufacturer of ExoScan. Everyone was very impressed with the level of work accomplished in such a short space of time. Feedback and comments from the study will help both Agilent/Analytik with their Handheld FTIR marketing and sales activities.

Analytik looks forward to welcoming next year's IfM students and to continuing their productive relationship with IfM. We all thank Nicolas and Kartikeya for their excellent work and wish them all the best for their future careers.

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Sarah Thomas
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