NTS News Center

Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

NTS News Center - Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

Non-Destructive Evaluations

Non-destructive evaluations (NDEs) are a critical first step in the failure analysis of a product or component. NDE testing looks closely at a device under test without altering it in any permanent way. This is the fastest and most economical way of collecting data that can be used to pinpoint the root cause of a failure or make other improvements that will enhance quality control or performance.

NTS offers a range of non-destructive inspection services from our Chesapeake laboratory. Leveraging sophisticated equipment and the expertise of our engineers, we can design testing programs that provide actionable information and accurate results for a range of products.

NDE Testing Services

Different products with different issues demand different testing programs. Non-destructive failure testing at NTS may involve any of the following:

  • Visual inspections: A thorough visual inspection is the most basic form of NDE testing. We can inspect a nonfunctioning component to confirm the product meets original specs, and to determine when and how any physical damage occurred.
  • Optical microscopy: Optical microscopy gives our engineers a closer look at a device under test. It is often required to understand how a material has degraded or identify how a component has become contaminated or corroded.
  • CT scanning: X-ray CT scanning provides high-resolution 3D images of the internal components of your product, letting our team pinpoint failure modes without altering the device under test. Our Chesapeake facility features a 450kV microfocus system that can scan objects up to 37” in diameter, creating a sophisticated data set that includes information from internal features and surfaces that would be otherwise hidden.
  • 3D metrology: Our 3D metrology services provide fast, accurate internal surface dimension measurements with a resolution of 0.001” or better. Results are fully traceable and testing takes just minutes. 3D metrology NDE testing is useful for geometric inspections and reverse-engineering.
  • Laser mapping: Our nondestructive testing facilities include a BEMIS-SC™ laser mapper — a sophisticated tool specifically for measuring gun bores ranging from .22 to .50-cal. As a result, we are able to provide certification, recertification and other commercial gun barrel inspection services.

Using the above technologies and other powerful tools, we can perform qualitative and quantitative nondestructive testing for clients ranging from defense and aerospace contractors to commercial electronics manufacturers. Our labs are ISO 17025- and A2LA-accredited to perform root failure analyses for highly-complex components and products.

Benefits of NDE Testing

Non-destructive inspections have multiple benefits for manufacturers. Powerful imaging equipment allows for accurate, in-depth analyses of failed components. Testing early in the manufacturing cycle can reduce the risk of liability issues down the line, saving you money without having to sacrifice an expensive prototype. This, in turn, leads to a higher-quality product at a lower cost.

NTS engineers will work closely with you to identify your testing needs and put together a non-destructive testing program that provides you with useful, usable information. With these results, we can recommend improvements that will reduce the risk of future failure.

For more information, use our online form to request a quote.

Micro CT Scanning

Micro CT scanning — alternately known as micro-focus and nanosat imaging — is a form of non-destructive testing used to create a high-resolution 3D map of an object. The technology is similar to CAT scanning used in medical imaging, though on a smaller scale which produces more detailed results.

NTS provides micro CT scanning from our Chesapeake laboratory. We offer this service to clients in a variety of industries and sectors, ranging from electronics manufacturing to defense and aerospace. Combined with other imaging and processing tools, micro CT scanning plays a major role in failure analysis and other problem-solving investigations.

Our Capabilities

NTS’ Chesapeake lab features a walk-in 450kV microfocus CT system — one of the most advanced available today. With it, we can scan objects up to 37” in diameter, obtaining detailed 3D images of their internal surfaces and components. These images contain information not only about the object’s dimensional characteristics but also about the density and void content of its materials. As a result, CT scanning is highly useful for performing materials testing of metal or plastic components.

Micro-focus X-ray scanning is a cost- and time-effective alternative to destructive testing. It allows our engineers to visually and analytically evaluate all aspects of the device under test, including areas that would be otherwise inaccessible. Micro CT scanning can be used to pinpoint the cause of a device failure or perform other testing necessary for quality control or certification.

How It Works

Micro CT scanning involves collecting a series of projection images using an X-ray camera that rotates either fully or partially around the object under test. Then, these images are reconstructed as a volumetric set, producing a 3D image of exceptional clarity that contains data from all areas of the object.

The main difference between micro CT imaging and conventional CAT scanning is that, because the item under test is not alive, it is possible to use higher doses of radiation. In doing do, micro CT scanning tools are able to penetrate deeper below the object’s surface and obtain higher-quality images.

Benefits of Micro CT Imaging

Micro CT imaging produces results that are up to 100 times more detailed than conventional medical imaging. Aside from superior results, however, the process has several additional benefits.

Preparing samples is easy — there’s no need for staining or preparation — and the scanning itself produces no destructive effects. This allows for further testing and analyses as necessary and eliminates the need to have multiple samples available for testing.

Working With NTS

We are continually expanding our imaging capabilities to provide better service and better results for our clients. Our micro CT imaging capabilities are complemented by additional tools for performing fiber orientation characterization, FEA mesh integration and other computational material analyses. Our Chesapeake micro-focus testing lab is certified to ISO 17025 and A2LA standards for root failure testing, among other services.

To learn more about our micro and nano X-ray imaging capabilities, submit a quote request online. One of our engineers will be happy to go over your requirements and suggest a customized testing program.

Hockey Helmet Testing – Why is a Properly Tested Helmet Important?

      Although the National Football League has taken most of the heat for Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in recent years, some are beginning to look at the National Hockey League. The media and medical community are taking notice to the rise in helmet-related injuries among players, such as facial lacerations, concussions and skull fractures.

These repeated blows to the head are dangerous to players mental and physical capabilities to not only play but live their everyday lives. Proper head protection is essential to preventing TBI and CTE in players. Ensuring that helmets and head gear are properly tested alleviates significant risk for brain injury.

The History of Hockey Helmets

Hockey is often known for its hard-hitting, board smashing, tough play. Players are considered to be some of the toughest athletes in competition – for good reason. While ice hockey has its origins in the late 19th century, the first helmets did not appear until Boston Bruins player George Owens wore one for the 1928-1929 hockey season.

Following this first appearance, helmets saw sporadic use in the early 1930s after an incident between Boston Bruins player Eddie Shore and Toronto Maple Leafs player Ace Bailey, which resulted in both players receiving massive head injuries.

However, helmets did not see full acceptance until the 1970s, following the death of Minnesota North Stars player Bill Masterton in 1968. Masterton died on January 15, 1968, after being checked onto the ice by two players from the Oakland Seals in a January 13 game at the Met Center. Masterton was treated on the ice and in the locker room, and then rushed to the hospital, where he remained in a coma for roughly 30 hours, finally passing in the early hours of January 15.

Masterton’s death opened a debate about player safety, specifically on the wearing of helmets. Many players disdained them over fear of being called cowards, and by 1971 only 6 players on the Minnesota North Stars wore them, the highest number of players on any team at the time. Additionally, the NHL, as well as other regulatory bodies, including New York’s legislature, had voted on and vetoed legislation regarding helmet use at least three separate times.

Finally, 11 years after Masterton’s death, the NHL ruled that helmets would be mandatory for all players who entered the league in the 1979-1980 season.

Goalie Helmets: A Slightly Different History

Unlike the regular hockey helmet, the goalie’s helmet has had a little less of a checkered history. The first goalie’s masks were simple leather affairs worn in most cases on a one-off basis. The father of the current goalie mask was Jacques Plante, who invented the face-hugging fiberglass goalie mask in 1959.

Plante’s fiberglass mask was widely adopted and, since its invention, no professional goaltenders play without a mask.

There are three main types of goaltender’s mask, though only two are in current use:

  1. Face-hugger. The initial face-hugging fiberglass design invented by Jacques Plante. This style of mask has fallen out of favor in the professional hockey world, having been replaced by either helmet/cage or fiberglass/cage combination helmets.
  2. Helmet/cage combination. A combination of a standard hockey helmet and an enclosing fiberglass cage, this design grew to popularity in the 1970s thanks to Vladislav Tretiak, the goalie for the Russian ice hockey team in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Helmet/cage combinations have largely been replaced by fiberglass/cage combinations in the NHL, although they remain popular with amateur and high-school teams, who cite the fact that the style of cage allows for a better view of the puck.
  3. Fiberglass/cage combination. This type of goaltender mask combines a mask with a cage attached in the middle. The mask can be made of carbon fiber, fiberglass, Kevlar or a mix of the last two. The fiberglass/cage style of goaltender’s mask is used at all levels of organized hockey play, as it better disperses the impact of a puck.

Puck impacts are not the only injuries players face, however, and understanding how dangerous those injuries can be is just one part of selecting the proper helmet.

Hockey Injuries on the Ice

Puck injuries are one of the most serious a player can face out on the ice. The average slap shot propels a six-ounce puck at a rate of 97.25 square meters per second — enough to cause severe bleeding to an unprotected face even in a best-case scenario.

In fact, getting hit in the face with a puck, and the severe bleeding it caused, is what spurred Plante to invent and use the first fiberglass goaltender’s mask, which he used for the rest of his career.

High-speed puck impacts also have a significant chance of giving players a concussion, with pucks going over 33 meters per second, a feat easily achieved by skilled players, generating enough g-forces to cause a concussion or other mild traumatic brain injury in 80 percent of cases, according to the International Research Council On Bio-mechanics of Injury (IRCOBI).

Not only do players have to contend with getting hit in the face with a puck, but they also have to deal with getting checked into the glass or onto the ice by other players, as was the case with Masterton in 1968.

The Physics of Hockey Injuries

Getting checked into the open ice can be one of the most dangerous things to happen to a player. Since the player being checked is slammed downward onto the open ice, all of the kinetic energy of the checking player is transferred into their body, generating huge amounts of force.

For example, if Jeff Friesen, who stands 6’0” and weighs 200 pounds, checked Eric Lindros, who stands 6’4” and weighs 230 pounds, into the glass at the average hockey speed of 29 miles per hour, Friesen would impart more than 16,000 joules of force into Lindros’ body — enough force to shoot a puck over 160,000 feet at an initial speed of just under 700 miles per hour. Or, in simpler terms, Friesen would put enough force into Lindros’s body to power a 60-watt light bulb for 271 seconds, or just over four and a half minutes.

These sorts of forces are easily enough to give the checked player concussion. In fact, being checked onto the open ice is worse than being checked into the boards, as the Plexiglas barriers and the boards below them are designed to mitigate some of the force of the check. The ice is not.

No matter whether they’re checked onto the ice or into the boards, players find being checked is often a recipe for a concussion. From 1997 to 2008, 759 NHL players received a concussion following a check by another player. This works out to roughly 76 players per season, or about 31 concussions per 1000 hockey games.

The Importance of Helmets and Helmet Testing

 Wearing a helmet can significantly decrease a player’s risk of receiving a concussion as a result of a puck to the face or slam into the boards.

Mostly this is done through the use of a hard plastic shell separated from the head by a softer foam liner. The amount of shock and force absorbed by each helmet depends not only on the type of shell material used but also the type of liner. Thicker shell materials and foams can take more force but may conform less to the head, requiring more stringent retention systems to keep them in place.

Testing helmets acts as an important way to gauge what gives you the most protection. As part of the research into helmet design, IRCOBI released a paper in 2014 that showcased the results of 24.2 m/s and 33 m/s puck impacts on the five leading styles of helmet design:

  1. A two-piece high-density polyethylene (HDPE) shell with a perforated vinyl nitrile (VN) liner
  2. A two-piece HDPE shell with an expanded polypropylene (EPP) liner
  3. A two-piece HDPE shell with an EPP liner
  4. A single-piece polycarbonate shell with an EPP liner
  5. A single-piece HDPE shell fitted with a liner built out of an array of plastic discs

According to the IRCOBI research, HDPE helmets lined with EPP padding took higher amounts of cumulative strain than the helmet made out of a single piece of polycarbonate and lined with a similar EPP liner or helmets made out of a similar HDPE shell and lined with perforated vinyl nitrile.

Part of this is because of the increased thickness of single-piece HDPE (2.5mm) when compared to two-piece HDPE (2.3mm) and a single-piece polycarbonate shell (0.5mm). The type of liner foam also helped absorb stress, with thicker types of foam able to absorb more stress.

Research on the Most Effective Helmet Styles

For example, during a 33 meter-per-second puck impact, a one-piece polycarbonate shell helmet with EPP foam had a 14.36 percent chance of cumulative strain damage compared to a two-piece HDPE shell with VN foam, which actually had the lightest, at 3.20 percent.

Two-piece HDPE shells with EPP foam were a solid compromise between the two, with the two models used by the IRCOBI paper having a 5.82 and 5.14 percent chance of cumulative strain damage, respectively. Mostly this can be put down to weight: the lighter HDPE helmet (514 grams) had a higher chance of strain damage (5.82 percent) than did the heavier (578 grams) helmet at 5.14 percent.

While two-piece HDPE helmets are a solid compromise between single-piece polycarbonate and single-piece HDPE helmets with regard to cumulative strain damage, the IRCOBI research shows that single-piece HDPE helmets fitted with a plastic disc array actually transferred the lowest average and max amounts of pressure to the testing head-forms.

The single-piece HDPE helmet only transferred 96.5 newtons of pressure per square centimeter on average and 373 newtons per square centimeter at maximum compared to the single-piece polycarbonate helmet, which actually transferred the highest amounts of pressure in both cases — on average, the single-piece polycarbonate helmet transferred 127.5 newtons per square centimeter of pressure, while at the maximum it transferred 521.4 newtons per square centimeter.

Because of this increased pressure transfer, the single-piece polycarbonate helmet also had a 0.39 percent chance of causing minor to severe head injuries as a result of a 33 meter-per-second puck impact. Comparatively, the other four helmet designs had less than a 0.05 chance of causing minor to severe head injuries, with the two-piece HDPE helmet with VN foam leading the pack at 0.01.

The Worst Styles to Prevent Concussion?

In fact, the IRCOBI research actually showed the single-piece polycarbonate helmet was one of the worst styles of helmet design, at least in the 33 meter-per-second test. It maxed out the values for linear acceleration, angular acceleration, angular velocity, average pressure, max pressure, head injury risk and cumulative strain damage.

While it did not max out the variables in the 24.2 m/s impact test, the single-piece polycarbonate helmet did have the highest angular acceleration, angular velocity and cumulative strain damage chance. Again, this is most likely due to the sheer thinness of the polycarbonate shell, which is a little under a quarter as thick as the two-piece HDPE helmet and about a fifth as thick as the single-piece HDPE helmet.

So if you’re looking for a helmet design to protect against the rigors of a game of hockey, it’s probably best to stay away from single-piece polycarbonate helmets, even if only on thickness alone.

How Do I Select The Best Helmet?

 The best helmet is one that not only fits snugly to your head but is also comfortable while at the same time providing the best amount of protection possible. Players should look for helmets that have equal amounts of protection when it comes to high-mass low-velocity impacts, like a head drop, and low-mass high-velocity impacts, such as getting hit with a puck.

For this reason, it is best to purchase a helmet in person at a retailer where you can try the helmet on and staff can help you ensure the helmet fits your head properly. Unless you’ve tried on and fitted a similar or previous helmet, it’s best you don’t order helmets online or via catalog.

Additionally, ensure the equipment you purchase has been certified by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC), which evaluates and selects standards and testing procedures for hockey equipment with the purpose of providing standards by which a product may be certified for player use.

Standards for Hockey Helmets

HECC provides four different standards, one for each type of hockey headgear:

  1. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F1045 for hockey helmets, which deals with areas of helmet coverage, form and extent of protective material — both helmet and liner — strength and elongation ability of the chinstrap and shock absorption as a whole.
  2. Goaltenders’ headgear is evaluated against ASTM F1587, which combines elements of ASTM F1045 and ASTM F513 for face and eye protectors. ASTM F1587 tests helmet coverage area, helmet liner shock absorption, face mask impact resistance, chinstrap strength and field of view, with minimum requirements for each.
  3. ASTM F513, as described above, deals with the standards for face and eye protectors. Like all of the other ASTM standards, ASTM F513 tests area of coverage. However, it also deals with field of vision, much like goaltender’s headgear, as well as stick blade penetration, impact resistance and, of course, compatibility with standard helmet designs.
  4. Visor testing deals with much of the same standards that face and eye protectors do, such as area of coverage, impact resistance and compatibility with helmets. Instead of using another ASTM standard, as in the other three testing procedures, visors are tested against CAN/CSA Z262.2. CAN/CSA Z262.2 specifies requirements for visor construction, puck impact and penetration resistance, field of view standards, markings and user manual specifications.

All HECC-certified protective hockey equipment is tested by an independent testing organization, i.e. one that is neither part of HECC nor part of the company sending the equipment for testing, and then validated by HECC’s independent validator. The current HECC validator is Ann Overbaugh.

Certification and Standards for Helmets

You can tell equipment has been validated as conforming to HECC standards and certifications because it will bear a blue-bordered sticker that lists the standard the equipment has been validated as conforming to — for example, ASTM F1045 — the date that the standard was last revised, and the year after which the certification expires.

All HECC certification stickers are invalid 6.5 years after the date of manufacture. For helmets, manufacturers provide a sticker on the inside of the helmet that lists the date of manufacture.

As part of its goal to ensure all protective hockey equipment is manufactured to a universal safety standard, HECC maintains a list of certified products on its website, organized by manufacturer, certification, brand and model number, among other criteria.

Why Should I Get My Equipment Validated?

If you’re a retailer of hockey/sports equipment, getting the equipment you sell validated as conforming to HECC standards is the only way you’ll sell protective hockey equipment, as HECC-certified equipment is required for play by the following hockey organizations:

  • USA Hockey
  • The National Federation of State High School Associations
  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association, for face masks only

Additionally, the HECC symbol or name cannot be used on a product unless that product has been certified, and that certification validated, before the product’s publication.

So how do you get equipment HECC-certified? First, you need to find an independent testing organization.

Trust National Technical Systems for All Your Product Testing Needs

With over 50 years of experience and the largest network of testing laboratories in North America, National Technical Systems (NTS) is prepared to meet any challenge you can come up with, including product testing and certification, product inspections and supply chain management.

NTS engineers work as an extension of the client’s own engineering team, filling any gaps and providing their expertise in order to build products that are safer, stronger and more reliable than the competition. And when the time comes to bring those products to market, NTS has a team of supply chain management professionals ready to ensure your products get to their designated market spaces quickly and efficiently.

Here at NTS, we offer a wide variety of testing services for manufacturers and product developers in dozens of industries. Testing services at NTS include:

  • Environmental testing
  • Dynamics testing
  • Product safety testing
  • Mechanical and materials testing

For our sports-minded customers, the newest NTS facility, NTS Chesapeake in Belcamp, Maryland, offers sports equipment testing to ensure the gear you produce is up to the standards of your industry. We offer testing on equipment for numerous sports, including football, baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer and others.

Certified to Assist With Hockey Equipment Testing

The Chesapeake testing facility is Safety Equipment Institute certified for National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) testing, ASTM testing, DOT testing and other specifications as needed.

As part of its ASTM testing, the NTS Chesapeake facility offers ice hockey safety equipment testing. We are equipped to handle puck strikes, drop impacts and chinstrap/retention system testing. We can even verify your face masks have the correct opening sizes in order to fit HECC-certified visors and cages.

In addition to the HECC’s ASTM standards, NTS Chesapeake is also capable of testing hockey helmets against NOCSAE-ND030 standards and capable of testing hockey face protectors against the standards set by NOCSAE-ND035.

If you are interested in having your hockey safety equipment tested by the team at NTS Chesapeake, feel free to contact us or use our website to request a quote. We want to help you show your products can keep players on the ice and performing to the best of their abilities.

Solicitation Alert: SPEAR Family of Tactical Headborne Systems Coxswain Helmet System

Solicitation Title: SPEAR Family of Tactical Headborne Systems Coxswain Helmet System
Issued by: U.S. Special Operations Command

Solicitation Number: H92222-17-R-027
Solicitation Location: Click here for Solicitation

Issued: 12 May 2017
Response Date: 25 July 2017

Other details/instructions:

  • This is only a pre-solicitation. Final solicitation expected to be released in June 2017.
  • All interested offerors MUST submit a Notice of Intent to submit a proposal in order to obtain the Performance Specification and have their proposal considered by the Government.

Please visit this link for detailed solicitation information and attachments: Click here for Solicitation

Solicitation Primary Point of Contact:
Kelly L. McNeill, kelly.mcneill@socom.mil

Solicitation Secondary Point of Contact:
Laura Fuller, laura.fuller@socom.mil

NTS Wichita and NTS Chesapeake are both NIJ-Certified, ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratories with the expertise and availability to perform all ballistic and non-ballistic testing as identified in the Solicitation. Both laboratories have the capacity to accommodate test range needs and provide deliverables within the due dates specified in the Solicitation.

NTS Wichita POC:
Matt Lutz, matthew.lutz@nts.com, 316-832-1600

NTS Chesapeake POCs:
Craig Thomas, craig.thomas@nts.com, 410-297-8154
Kyle North, kyle.north@nts.com, 410-297-8154

The Solicitation Reminder is a service of NTS Wichita and Chesapeake Testing divisions to help our customers uncover Federal Business Opportunities. We hope that you find this a valuable benefit of your partnership with us.

Failure Analysis with X-Ray CT Scanning

Failure Analysis Laboratory

Failure analysis is a critical step in addressing a reliability or performance issue with one of your products. Sophisticated tools help you get to the root of the problem quickly and determine how to correct the underlying issue. As part of our commitment to bringing innovative testing solutions to demanding clients, NTS offers x-ray computed tomography (CT) scanning and other services through our Chesapeake failure analysis laboratory.

Our acquisition of Maryland’s Chesapeake Testing has expanded our ability to deliver fast and accurate scanning services that go beyond visible or mechanical inspections to identify why and how a product has failed.

Non-Destructive vs. Destructive Testing

Non-destructive failure analysis testing can range from visual inspections to CT scanning, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and other methods. Non-destructive testing methods are typically employed first, as they don’t permanently alter the device being tested. Destructive testing, such as thermal and cross-section analyses, provide information non-destructive testing can’t, but render the device unusable and, in many cases, unsuitable for further testing.

Both non-destructive and destructive testing methods may be required to get to the root cause of a product failure. One of the benefits of working with an expert team like NTS is that we tailor our investigations to deliver the best results for the situation.

Markets Served

NTS’ expanded testing capabilities allow our team to provide a range of failure analysis services. We can perform testing on:

  • Printed circuit boards: Depending on the specifics of the issue, we use a combination of X-ray scanning, contamination testing and solderability testing to determine why a printed circuit board is falling out or failing in other ways.
  • Batteries: NTS provides CT scanning of failed battery components in our Chesapeake facility. Prior to being absorbed into NTS, Chesapeake Testing was routinely called on by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to aid in investigations and provide non-destructive failure analyses of lithium-ion-type battery cells.
  • Plastic components: Plastics and composites may fail due to stress, bending, extreme heat and other conditions. Plastic failure analysis requires the use of sophisticated tools such as microscopic and spectroscopic analyzers to look at the product at a molecular level.
  • Metal components: Metal and other material failure analyses demand a customized approach. An appropriate testing program may involve impact and fatigue testing, corrosion studies and more.

These are just a few of the many applications and testing services we offer in our Chesapeake laboratory. The facility, located conveniently outside of Washington, DC, is an ISO/IEC 17025:2005-accredited lab that is fully certified to perform demanding work for government clients such as the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Army and U.S. Department of State.

Contact NTS to Get Started Today

Our Chesapeake, MD lab is fully equipped to test devices of any size or configuration. We can help you quickly and accurately diagnose an issue and suggest corrective action that will limit your liability and improve the performance of your product.

To learn more about the failure testing capabilities at our Chesapeake facility or for more information about failure analysis in general, please submit an RFQ using our online form.

Do you have questions about our capabilities? Fill out the form below to ask our experts.

Seeing Beyond Boundaries: Industrial CT Scanning

Have you see the NTS sponsored white paper “The Basics, Common Applications, and 4 Tips to Maximize Results from Industrial CT Scanning Inspection” on the InCompliance EERC Resources page? Check it out today to learn about the history of CT scanning, X-ray and CT scanning imaging process, the difference between medical and industrial scanning, common applications and industry examples. Most importantly, learn how to maximize results with industrial CT scanning inspection! Click here to download the white paper. Click here to learn more about NTS non-destructive and CT Scanning services!

Solicitation Alert: Naval Security Forces Vests IDIQ

The Solicitation Reminder is a service of NTS Wichita and Chesapeake Testing divisions to help our customers uncover Federal Business Opportunities. We hope that you find this a valuable benefit of your partnership with us.

Solicitation Title: Naval Security Forces Vests IDIQ
Issued by: Department of the Navy, NSWC Panama Division

Solicitation Number: N61331-17-R-007
Solicitation Location: Click here for Solicitation

Issued: 27 April 2017
Response Date: 12 June 2017

Other details/instructions:

  • Ballistic Performance: The offeror shall provide ballistic test data relevant to the ballistic performance requirements of the SOW and Attachment J-1.  All test data sheets shall originate from an NIJ certified laboratory.
  • Ballistic Material:  the offeror shall provide description of ballistic material from an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory, per Section 2.3, Factor 2, Section B of the RFP.

Please visit this link for detailed solicitation information and attachments: Click here for Solicitation

Solicitation Primary Point of Contact:
Courtney Henslee, courtney.henslee@navy.mil

Solicitation Secondary Point of Contact:
Alex Potter, alex.potter@navy.mil

NTS Wichita and NTS Chesapeake are both NIJ-Certified, ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratories with the expertise and availability to perform all ballistic and non-ballistic testing as identified in the Solicitation. Both laboratories have the capacity to accommodate test range needs and provide deliverables within the due dates specified in the Solicitation.

NTS Wichita POC:
Matt Lutz, matthew.lutz@nts.com, 316-832-1600

NTS Chesapeake POCs:
Craig Thomas, craig.thomas@nts.com, 410-297-8154
Kyle North, kyle.north@nts.com, 410-297-8154

Advanced Testing Technology Meets Art Conservation: NTS lab assists in the digital exploration of medieval boxwood sculptures.

Thanks to the help and participation of our NTS Chesapeake Non-destructive Imaging Laboratory (formerly Chesapeake Testing), researchers have made advances in the study of medieval boxwood sculptures. The pieces are currently being featured in the exhibition Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures at the Met Cloisters, the branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated to medieval art and architecture.

These intricately carved objects, some over 500 years old, are simply miraculous in the level of detail created in such small objects. The 3D digital data captured via micro CT scanning helped researchers shed light on the techniques and craftsmanship required to construct these pieces of art with such fine detail.

Micro CT scanning, much like medical CAT scan imaging, uses the material penetrating properties of x-rays to provide information from within an object, whiteout any destructive effects. Unlike medical CAT scanning, micro CT has the ability to obtain extremely high resolution images, thanks to the use of highly focused x-ray sources and higher resolution imaging panels.

This data gives historians and researchers a unique ability to virtually cross section the artifacts, without any risk of damage. In addition to being able to analyze the internal structure, the scanning process also captures full 3D surface information which can be used later on to 3D print replicas and allow for enriched public interaction with these delicate pieces of medieval history.

To learn more about these fantastic carvings, visit The Met website here: http://www.metmuseum.org/press/exhibitions/2016/small-wonders. The exhibition runs from February 22 through May 21, 2017.



X-Ray Computed Tomography Scanning & Composite Materials

X-ray inspection technology has come a long way over the past several decades. Since its inception in the 1970s, x-ray computed tomography, or CT scanning, has completely revolutionized medical diagnostic practices. In the 1980s, we saw the introduction of micro-focus x-ray technology, which had large implications for non-destructive testing in the industrial and scientific communities. It wasn’t however, until the new millennium that improvements in x-ray detection technology and computing power enabled commercially-viable micro-focus x-ray CT scanning.

With micro-focus CT scanning, data can be captured at incredibly high resolution, sometimes even at the sub-micron level. This makes CT scanning an extremely valuable tool in materials research, especially when analyzing composite materials and their internal structures. The raw scan data, which is usually several gigabytes (20 GB+), can be rendered in 3D and even numerically analyzed. The image below shows a 3D rendering of a small section of a carbon-epoxy structure captured at approximately a 4 micron resolution.

In this particular sample, a small composite block, the x-ray and imaging settings were optimized to enhance the contrast between the carbon fibers and epoxy resin. This enabled us to virtually segment and remove the resin material in order to expose the fiber structure. This data can be extremely valuable in evaluating structural properties of materials and different manufacturing processes. There are even software tools commercially available today that can numerically evaluate fiber consistency and orientation over an entire structure.

X-ray CT scanning is a very versatile process that can be performed on many different materials and even at different stages of a manufacturing process. The images above, show a high-resolution CT scan of a prepreg composite that has not yet been fully cured. In the image on the left (a single cross section), the brighter areas are the uncured resin material, and small openings and voids can be seen inside. These can also be numerically analyzed to provide far more data, including fiber volume fraction, both locally, and over a larger area.

Even on the more “macro” scale, micro-CT can be a very powerful tool in structural and failure analysis. Small defects such as porosity and thin delaminations can be visualized with high resolution images. Failure modes can be spotted and easily identified in even the most complex of structures. The image above shows a cross section image from a high-load bearing structure that failed during mechanical load testing. The origins and full extent of the failure can be studied without the use of any destructive techniques that may compromise the sample and data.

There are many applications of x-ray CT scanning in composite materials, and the list is rapidly growing. This type of testing has proven to be very beneficial in identifying damage and failure modes that previously had gone undetected, and has also provided the benefit of avoiding, often time-consuming, destructive analysis.

NTS Chesapeake operates one of the most powerful, high-resolution CT systems in use today. A large walk-in 450kV micro-focus system enables large objects (up to 37 inches in diameter) to be imaged with extremely high resolution. This system, combined with NTS’s other x-ray capabilities and state-of-the-art processing and visualization tools, allows this technology to solve numerous problems spanning many different industries.


Solicitation Alert: SPEAR Soft Armor Ballistic Inserts

The Solicitation Reminder is a service of NTS Wichita and Chesapeake Testing divisions to help our customers uncover Federal Business Opportunities. We hope that you find this a valuable benefit of your partnership with us.

SPEAR Soft Armor Ballistic Inserts

Solicitation Number: H92222-17-R-0005
Solicitation Location: Click here for Solicitation

Issued: 6 March 2017
Response Date: 4 May 2017

Other details/instructions:

  • As part of each offeror’s proposal, ballistic data must be provided per Tables C-1 and C-2 of Appendix C of the Performance Specification.
  • Offerors will be required to submit Product Demonstration Models (PDMs) with proposal submission for evaluation. See Table C-3 and C-4 of Appendix C of the Performance Specification.
  • All interested offerors MUST submit a Notice of Intent to submit a proposal in order to obtain the Performance Specification and have their proposal considered by the Government.

Please visit this link for detailed solicitation information and attachments: Click here for Solicitation

Solicitation Primary Point of Contact:
Kelly L. McNeill, kelly.mcneil@socom.mil

Solicitation Secondary Point of Contact:
Laura Fuller, laura.fuller@socom.mil

NTS Wichita and NTS Chesapeake are both NIJ-Certified laboratories with the expertise and availability to perform all ballistic and non-ballistic testing as identified in the Solicitation. Both laboratories have the capacity to accommodate test range needs and provide deliverables within the due dates specified in the Solicitation.

NTS Wichita POC:
Matt Lutz, matthew.lutz@nts.com, 316-832-1600

NTS Chesapeake POCs:
Craig Thomas, craig.thomas@nts.com, 410-297-8154
Kyle North, kyle.north@nts.com, 410-297-8154