New Instrument Measures Fiber Adhesion in Composites

Problem: Toughness of fiber reinforced ceramic in applications ranging from armor, to engine components, to aircraft structures depends on fiber-matrix adhesion. Too much adhesion and a crack goes right through the fiber. Too little adhesion and the matrix slides off the fiber. An instrument was needed to measure the adhesion of reinforcing fibers to the matrix in composites. Because of its relative simplicity, the fiber push-out test has become a preferred method of measuring these properties throughout the ceramic composites community. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) had built a prototype fiber push-out instrument, although it was awkward and expensive. However, no standard test apparatus, capability, or test protocol existed.

Solution: AFRL Materials and Manufacturing Directorate (ML), under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Process Equipment Company, developed a small, low-cost version of the AFRL fiber push-out instrument. Process Equipment also increased the capability and reliability of the instrument. Process Equipment named the new fiber push-out instrument the Micro Measure MachineTM.


  • The Micro Measure MachineTM will serve as a tool in the development of fiber reinforced composites by providing a measure of interface goodness. Testing of known "good" composites will help establish a range of desirable interface properties.
  • Being able to measure the interface properties will enhance the development of new and improved ceramic composites.
  • Fiber reinforced ceramics can permit elevated engine temperatures and result in higher efficiency. Consequent fuel savings and increased payload
    capabilities can be substantial. The Micro Measure Machine makes designs of these fiber reinforced materials much easier.
  • Fiber reinforced ceramics can be lighter, stronger, tougher, stiffer, and less expensive than traditional materials. These materials allow greater range, speed and payload for airplanes and missiles.
  • A fiber-matrix testing machine which can be readily manufactured, offered commercially at a reasonable price, and operated and maintained relatively easily is a true benefit to the ceramic composites community.

Current Status:

  • Process Equipment has sold one Micro Measure Machine to the University of Cincinnati.
  • Marketing survey collected; analysis of results complete.
  • Further marketing underway.
  • Use of the Micro-Measure-Machine for nano-indentor is being explored
If you have any questions about this Cooperative Research and Development Agreement or are interested in getting more information about technology transfer and CRADA projects, please contact Jim Singer at Wright Technology Network (937) 253-0217 or CRADA@wtn.org

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