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Flying High with Mecmesin Force Tester

14 July 2009

A hot air balloon manufacturer is using a Mecmesin force testing system to perform tensile strength tests on the material used to form the ‘envelope’ part of the balloon.

Ultra Magic is the worlds second largest producer of hot air balloons. For safety reasons, controlled assessments must be undertaken to ensure the material is strong enough and passes the strict standards set out by the aeronautical industry. The specification involved testing different materials, which form part of the envelope and required that each sample to be securely fastened without pinching and damaging the fabrics structure.

Mecmesin supplied a MultiTest 2.5 motorised test system (now superseded by the MultiTest 2.5-d), in conjunction with an Advanced Force Gauge and pair of large single-action vice grips (wave form jaws). The wave form jaws grip the sample securely without compromising the materals structure and, therefore, does not weaken it in any way before each force test. Using samples 45mm wide and 120mm in length, the tensile test is undertaken at a speed of 50mm/min. Tensile forces should measure within the range of 700N-1100N.

Ultra Magic uses the same system to perform other tests including;

  1. Measuring tensile strength of balloon cloth fabric subjected to an accelerated ageing process

  2. Performing a tear test on balloon cloth fabric

  3. Undertaking tensile tests on seams and fasteners to establish maximum strength

Jordi Vives-Talló, Engineer for Ultra Magic comments, ‘This test system is perfectly suited to our needs, giving us the flexibility we require to perform multiple tests with the certainty of obtaining reliable, accurate results. Undertaking these quality measurements in-house means we are also saving significant costs, as we no longer require the services of external test laboratories.’

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