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INEGI patent facilitates the prediction of materials’ lifespan

02 July 2019

It’s a new lighting system to identify and aid mechanical fatigue measurement, in order to predict the lifespan of materials. Fully developed by INEGI, the innovation was recognized by the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), which granted INEGI a national patent.

The tests carried out at INEGI with the addition of this new "lighting system using oblique light", demonstrate that "generated images have a superior quality, because the material under observation is illuminated uniformly", says Paulo Tavares, INEGI’s researcher and one of the inventors of the technology. "We succeeded in highlighting the cracks, in all their length, so that their development could be better monitored, which is essential to guarantee the reliability of the image processing methods in the automatic analysis of mechanical fatigue," he adds.

Besides increasing quality, it saves time. With this new technology, materials can be analysed through an automatic method of image capture and processing, a system also created in INEGI and made available open source. This way it’s possible to avoid interruptions in the test, making the process up to 8 times faster, compared to what is done by a technician, with a traditional inspection magnifying glass.

The study of mechanical fatigue, the progressive wear of materials subjected to repeated cycles of tension or deformation, is essential to "anticipate the number of charge cycles to which the materials can be subjected to until they fail and estimate their lifespan", explains Paulo Tavares.

The aeronautical and automotive sectors will particularly benefit with this innovation, since they use several metal components, which are usually subject to this type of charge cycles. For example, whenever a plane takes off or lands, it’s subject to a cycle of fatigue, which can cause cracks. With INEGI’s patented solution, it’s possible to predict, with more speed and efficiency than is currently possible, when a component of the airplane might break, in order to avoid accidents.

INEGI is now contemplating the search for partnerships to enable the commercialization of the technology, thus contributing to the optimization of fatigue tests in various sectors of the industry.

An effort that has already resulted in an order, from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, after a presentation of the solution during the Meeting of the Spanish Fracture Group of (GEF), last April.
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