Many test projects at Exponent's Test and Engineering Center (TEC) in Phoenix are focused on specific components or subsystems, including transmissions, tires, gears, seat recliners, interior padding, exhaust systems, engine subsystems, fuel system components, and a variety of occupant protection systems. Tests include structural loading tests that conform to standards, a project-specific configuration, or a completely unique or exploratory test procedure. These tests are performed using one of Exponent's existing test apparatus or our experienced staff can create a custom test device using either a pneumatic or hydraulic loading capability. We often conduct standardized procedures, such as roof crush testing according to FMVSS 216. However, to suit individual clients' requirements, we regularly provide consulting assistance in every facet of the planning, design, and execution of unique load-test procedures.
Most of the load testing is quasi-static in nature using displacement or load feedback servo-hydraulic controls to control a hydraulic piston. Load, displacement, and energy can be monitored during the test and plotted or synchronized with video on completion. Exponent has developed robust testing fixtures for Roll-Over Protective Structures (ROPS) testing that can be configured in a multitude of orientations and configurations. This gives us flexibility to perform standardized ROPS testing on off-highway vehicles (e.g. recreational side-by-side, and industrial and agricultural tractors) to the applicable OSHA and CPSC standards, as well as standards from SAE, ROHVA, ANSI, and OPEI. Other one-of-a-kind quasi-static and dynamic testing configurations can be performed on these vehicles as well.
Exponent also has the capability to conduct dynamic load testing. High-frequency servo valves in combination with high flow hydraulic power supplies have been used to load automotive suspension systems and other components at various magnitudes and frequencies. Inverted Drop Tests on a vehicle roof structure are usually conducted within the Indoor Test Facility. Dynamic load impact testing has also been used to evaluate an electric vehicle battery container and automotive fuel tanks.
Other testing includes leak and burst testing of internally pressurized subsystem components. We have the ability to perform high pressure burst testing in our test bunker and can capture burst events utilizing high-speed video.
Vehicle durability studies take place on our two-mile oval track. The inner and outer lanes of the track include various rough-road features. Onsite offices and vehicle storage bays can be provided to clients who wish to conduct their own studies on our track.
We are also experienced in developing special machines to test the durability of system components under accelerated conditions. Compressed natural gas fuel tanks, vehicle frame sections, and seat recliner mechanisms are examples of products for which we have developed specialized test systems.
Some examples components that have been tested include:
- Automotive door structures, windows, and components
- Automotive suspension systems
- Automotive and aircraft seat structures and mechanisms
- Restraint structures and mechanisms
- Aircraft fuselage structures
- Bicycle structures and components
- Trailer attachment structures and couplings
- Energy-absorbing traffic containment devices and barricades
- Amusement-ride components
- Compressed natural gas fuel tanks
- Heavy-truck cabs
- Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS)
- Vehicle inertial measurements