NIST's SPHERE equipment accelerates outdoor weathering of test materials.
NIST's SPHERE equipment accelerates outdoor weathering of test materials.

This follows an agreement to collaborate signed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), USA, and the French Laboratoire Central des Ponts et Chaussées (National Scientific and Technological Institute, LCPC). FRP composites are of interest to both countries because they could be used for high-strength applications such as wind turbines or bridges and piers.

The first planned project is to test the long-term weathering effects on advanced composite materials using NIST’s SPHERE (Simulated Photodegradation via High Energy Radiant Emission), a source of high-intensity ultraviolet (UV) rays that accelerates outdoor weathering of polymeric materials and composites. The SPHERE provides data on long-term exposure to UV radiation, temperature and relative humidity, which enables researchers to better predict a material’s service life.

This statement of intent to collaborate is one of the first to be signed under the auspices of the Agreement on Science and Technology Cooperation Between The Government of the United States of America and The Government of The French Republic, signed on 22 October 2008. The partners will share facilities and research, exchange information on related research topics and researchers, and publish joint scientific and technical reports.