Laboratory Testing

Exponent provides laboratory services from a variety of locations around the country.  We perform tests on numerous products from the very small (semiconductor chips and nanotechnology) to the large (trucks, buses and trains).  Although we capably perform compliance and standardized tests, Exponent is best-known for custom, application-specific, real world tests to analyze product performance in simulated end-use scenarios, after real time and accelerated aging, and many other conditions. Our Test & Engineering Center is home to one of the largest and most complex crash and sophisticated product testing laboratories in the US.  All testing is conducted in accordance with the appropriate United States or international quality standards. 

Some of the specialized testing we perform includes:
  • Battery/Energy Storage
  • Biomedical
  • Combustible Dust
  • Electrical
  • Fire & Flammability
  • Geotechnical
  • Human & Surrogate
  • Identity & Security
  • Materials
  • Mechanical
  • Test & Engineering Center   

Battery Testing

Exponent offers comprehensive regulatory-based testing and performance testing for a variety of energy storage products.  Some of our equipment includes:

  • Fully automated MACCOR Battery Testers with a combined total of 296 Channels
  • Mobile High Power Electric Load and Supply
    • Used for testing large cells and packs.
  • Environmental Chambers
  • Mechanical abuse test fixtures (e.g. nail penetration, crush, shock, vibration etc.)
  • Safety testing as outlined in UL 1642 and IEC 62133
  • Forensic analysis of battery and gas gauge characterization

Exponent is accredited to ISO 17025 by A2LA and is a CTIA Authorized Test Lab (CATL) for cellular phone batteries (A2LA Certificate 2561.02). 

Biomedical Testing

Exponent’s biomedical engineering laboratories in Philadelphia, Menlo Park, and Natick, are accredited to ISO 17025 by A2LA for evaluating medical materials and medical devices (A2LA Certificates: 2561.01, 2561.03, and 2561.04). Additionally, the Philadelphia laboratory is fully compliant with CFR 21 Part 58, U.S. FDA Good Laboratory Practices (GLP).   Some of the core services offered include:

  • Retrieval analysis to meet total product life cycle requirements
  • Wear and fatigue of orthopedic, spinal and cardiovascular devices
  • Biomaterials testing to meet supply chain requirements
  • Ex-vivo tissue mechanical testing and imaging
  • Accelerated aging, degradation and shelf-life testing

Additional information on the testing performed at these sites can be found here.
Combustible Dust Testing

Exponent’s Combustible-Dust Testing Laboratory (CDTL) is located at our office in Natick, Massachusetts. A variety of methods are used to characterize the combustibility and explosivity of powders. Testing performed at the CDTL includes standard ASTM test methods and customized test methods developed by Exponent.

Electrical Testing

Our electrical testing capabilities include equipment to evaluate electrical and thermal performance as well as specification, rating and surge immunity of semiconductors, discrete passive and active components, printed circuit boards, and systems that integrate them. This includes:

  • Characterization of power adapters and power converting performance such as efficiency, derating, output quality and safety/protection mechanisms;
  • Wired and wireless digital signal monitoring as well as timing and transition analysis;
  • Cross-wire impedance, skew, loss and high speed signal propagation delay with network analyzers;
  • Dielectric strength, insulation resistance of cable and interconnects.
  • 3D profilometry to determine surface profiles of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs)
  • Replication testing is performed to enhance understanding of root cause of failures.

Additionally, we have capabilities to test and characterize equipment related to power generation, transmission, and distribution.  Some of our equipment for performing high-power testing includes:

  • High current power supplies
  • High voltage power supplies
  • Pulse/transient voltage generators
  • Megger insulation resistance testers

Fire & Flammability Testing

Exponent’s thermal sciences practice performs fire and flammability testing on consumer products, electronics, industrial equipment and vehicles. We have experience with numerous small, intermediate, and large-scale fire and flammability testing methods, including those published by the NFPA, UL, and ASTM. In addition, Exponent engineers routinely develop and conduct specialized testing protocols that involve a variety of experimental methods and equipment for the evaluation of materials, products, or installations that fall outside the scope of industry-accepted test methods. 

Geotechnical Testing

Exponent’s geotechnical engineering staff has extensive experience in laboratory soil testing, field testing, sampling, and monitoring. Our expertise in laboratory testing and field work allows us to provide comprehensive geotechnical services to our clients.

Human & Surrogate Testing

Exponent’s consulting staff has a broad experience base and unmatched capabilities related to surrogate testing with volunteers and crash test dummies.  Our Human Factors consultants conduct focus groups to assess their opinions on product design (including warning labels and manuals) and usage. Biomechanical engineers.  As part of our evaluations of injury mechanics and injury potential, our biomechanical staff can simulate important aspects of an accident (or event) using a surrogate to ascertain the motions and/or forces that an individual would experience. This engineering technique is used to analyze accidents, to assist with product development, and to evaluate compliance with relevant safety standards.

Identity & Security Testing

Exponent has worked on ensuring the durability and reliability of smart cards and other credentials for over 15 years.  We participate in the ANSI and ISO Working Groups on Identification Cards and Related Technologies and help write the standards relating to Physical Characteristics, Test Methods, and Interoperability.  In our Identity Lab, we evaluate smart cards as well as e-Passports, machine readable travel documents (MRTD), phones, keyfobs, derived credentials, and other identification devices and associated equipment in accordance with FIPS201, ISO, ANSI, ICAO, and other relevant standards. Identity card testing is part of our ISO 17025 accredited laboratory (A2LA Certificate 2561.01).

Materials Analysis

Exponent has been at the forefront of failure analysis of metals and non-metals since the inception of our firm, nearly 50 years ago.  In addition to failure analysis, we have also solved thousands of materials-related issues for our clients.  Our materials laboratory capabilities reflect our extensive experience.  Our laboratory tools allow us to investigate, characterize, and understand metal, ceramic, polymer, and coating issues of any size, across a multitude of industries.  Our materials-based laboratory capabilities includes:

  • Computed Tomography (CT) X-ray Scanner 
    • Up to 225 kV and 225 W, as fine as 3 µm resolution
    • Advanced data analysis software capabilities 
    • Non-destructive analysis of internal structures
    • Micro- and macro-scale
  • Fourier Transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy
    • Macro- and micro- FTIR
  • Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)
  • Scanning Electron Microscopes with Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (SEM/EDS) 
    • SEMs equipped with a large chambers and EDS
    • Dual beam FE-SEM and Focused Ion Beam (FIB) and EDS – micromanipulator for cross section extraction
    • Environmental SEMs
    • Field-emission SEM
    • Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM)
    • Large chamber SEMs
    • Focused-ion beam milling
  • Macro-, micro-, nano- and portable hardness testing
  • Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy (GCMS)
  • 3D Surface Profilometers
    • White light and laser-equipped 
    • Precise measurement of three dimensional surface topography
  • Digital and Optical Microscopy 
    • Image stacking and 3-D stitching capabilities
  • Electrochemical and Corrosion Test Equipment
    • Galvanostatic and Potentiodynamic testing
    • Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) testing
    • Salt spray

Chemical and Analytical Testing

Exponent’s chemical and analytical testing capabilities include a variety of spectroscopic, chromatographic, thermal, and rheological analysis techniques to provide compositional and physical property information about polymers and organic materials of all types. Testing can be performed to meet standard specifications or custom analyses can be developed to meet client-specific sample preparation methods.

In-house chemical analysis techniques include:

  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
    • Attenuated total reflectance (ATR) attachments
    • Micro ATR single-point and ultra-fast chemical imaging using FTIR/ATR mapping
    • Integrating sphere attachments for specular and diffuse reflectance measurements and emissivity testing
  • Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and GC-flame ionization detector (GC-FID)
    • Direct liquid injection and thermal desorption capabilities to identify off-gassing components from solid samples
  • Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer (ToF-SIMS) – with sputtering capability
  • UV-Vis Spectrophotometer – with integrating sphere
  • Karl Fischer Titrator with built-in homogenizer – directly measures water content (range of 0.1 – 100 wt%) in both liquid and solid samples 

In-house thermal and rheological analysis capabilities include:

  • Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC)
    • Standard and modulated DSC modes, with an operating temperature range of -100 °C to 600 °C, and autosampler capabilities (up to 50 samples)
  • Thermogravimetric Analyzer (TGA)
    • Standard and modulated TGA modes, with operating temperatures up to 600 °C, and autosampler capabilities (up to 16 samples)
  • Rheology and Dynamic Mechanical Analysis
    • Controlled stress/controlled rate rheometry capabilities with frequencies up to 100 Hz, and environmental (test) control of -100 °C to 600 °C
  • Accelerating Rate Calorimeter (ARC)

Mechanical Testing

Our mechanical test laboratories are equipped with electro-mechanical, servo-hydraulic load frames and custom durability test equipment.  Custom small-force, small-displacement load frames are used for testing applications requiring gram-force and micron-displacement resolution. We can also analyze the performance of the product in various environmental conditions (high and low temperature), including stresses related to foreseeable user abuse conditions. 

Test & Engineering Center (TEC)

Located in Phoenix, Arizona, our 147-acre test facility includes both indoor and outdoor facilities for large-scale testing and experiments. The TEC comprises a combination of specialized test and prototyping equipment with reconfigurable test areas and instrumentation.  Outdoors the TEC maintains a vehicle proving ground and full-scale crash facility; indoors nearly 27,000 square feet of high-bay space is used in the evaluation of everything from sports equipment to large-format electric vehicle batteries.  More information on the TEC can be found here.


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