Continuous stresses lead to undesirable changes in materials over time: Quality degradation, damage or even early product failure. However, the underlying aging effects often only become apparent after years of use. An investigation of natural aging is therefore too time-consuming and thus uneconomical in many areas.
However, aging effects can be significantly accelerated by the targeted use of higher or more frequent loads. Thus aging processes can be determined then frequently within several days or weeks, which would have taken several years with a natural aging. In technical jargon, this is then called "accelerated lifetime testing" or rapid lifetime testing.
Accelerated aging is challenging, however. First of all, the changes taking place in the material must be precisely understood. Only then can statements be made about the aging behavior and service life of products.
In the Lab4ALT (Laboratory for accelerated liftetime testing) we deal with exactly this topic. We focus on aging effects, which are caused by influences of temperature (heat, cold and temperature change), UV radiation (UVA, UVB) and humidity (dryness, humidity and humidity change).
Using state-of-the-art imaging and spectroscopic analysis equipment (µCT, FTIR, Raman, AFM, SEM-EDS) as well as corresponding equipment for accelerated aging (temperature shocker, climatic chambers, UV chamber), we have established a center of excellence at the FHV, which is used for scientific research purposes as well as for product-oriented damage and durability analyses.