Structural Integrity Laboratory

National Research Council Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
What the facility does

Aircraft structural integrity research through testing, modeling, and non-destructive evaluation

Areas of expertise

Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) of both metallic and composite structures, material awareness, probability of detection, NDE procedure development.

Structural Mechanics and Health Monitoring of structural response to external loads and to residual stress using advanced optical and X-ray diffraction techniques, including high speed events (explosives). Damage monitoring using advanced fibre optic, piezoelectric, micro-electro-mechanical systems, and nanosensors, with test platforms for assessing sensor reliability.

Structural Life Assessment through structural finite element analysis, testing-modeling integration, physics-based Holistic Structural Integrity Process models for environmental effect and complex failure modes such as corrosion and multi-site damage/widespread fatigue damage, development of advanced software for fatigue and damage tolerance analysis, and quantitative risk/reliability analysis for fleet management decision-making.

Structural Full Scale Test using innovative multi-axial rigs and unique design capability to meet structural life extension and airworthiness certification needs. Expertise in system control for complex loading and optimum testing speed, while providing ease of access for inspections and maintenance to reduce effort and test time.

Research services
  • Non-destructive inspection (NDI) and evaluation of materials and structures
  • NDI reliability and probability of detection study
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Structural experimental mechanics including digital image correlation and thermoelastic stress analysis
  • Advanced structural analysis and design optimization
  • Durability and damage tolerance assessment, and structural life prediction
  • Life extension and certification testing
Sectors of application
  • Aerospace and satellites
  • Defence and security industries
  • Manufacturing and processing
  • Professional and technical services (including legal services, architecture, engineering)
  • Transportation

MTS Load Frames (uniaxial)


Multiple computer controlled servo hydraulic test equipment (load, stroke, strain control) with maximum load range capabilities ranging from 1,100 to 220,000 lbf; American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) fatigue and fatigue crack growth test methods; compliance and Direct Current Potential Drop (DCPD) crack monitoring
Proto iXRD X-ray diffractometerResidual stress measurement of most alloys (e.g. steel, superalloys, aluminium) ranging from coupons to small components within a lab-based leaded enclosure. System can be adapted to assess large components and deployed for field use.
HBM Data Acquisition Systems500 channels
Servo-Hydraulic ActuatorsMultiple ranging from 2,000 to 50,000 lbf; up to 40 inches displacement
Eddy-Current Testing (ECT) EquipmentPulsed, conventional multi-frequency, magneto-optical imaging, handheld, portable, table top
Ultrasonic Testing (UT) EquipmentPhased array, table top, portable, handheld, immersion (fully automated, turn-table and bar indexer, 8’ x 3.5’ x 3.5’ immersion tank, pulse-echo or thru-transmission)

GE CRxVision Computed Radiography Scanner


Conventional, computed radiography
Thermal Wave Imaging EchoTherm 32 SystemThermography. Active (pulsed, lock-in), passive, induction.
Autodesk Inventor 2020, CATIA V5-6Test rig design
MTS FlexTest 200 Controller (4) with Cross Coupling Compensation (capacity for 2000 inputs)Test rig load control systems; for use with load cells, strain gauges, displacement transducers (string pot, etc.) and pressure transducers. Closed loop control of up to 64 channels with 500 data acquisition channels.
MTS Biaxial Load Frame50,000 lbf capacity with in phase and out of phase capability
ESPEC Environmental Test ChamberEnvironmental temperature and humidity chamber; -65 F to 350 F with humidity conditioning
Luna ODiSI-B Optical Distributed Sensor InterrogatorFibre optic system. Rayleigh backscatter fibre optic strain sensing – up to 20 metre length.

Atmospheric Plasma Solutions


Depainting and studies using gaseous ions for studying oxidation of materials and resistance to ion bombardment

Correlated Solutions Digital Image Correlation System


Ranging from micro to macro scale. Static and dynamic high speed camera capability.

Photron high-speed cameras (2)


Two (2) SA-X high-performance camera systems from 13,000 frames per second to 1 million frames per second. Two (2) SA-1 systems from 1,000 to 25,000 frames per second.
INSTRON Impact Charpy (hammer)Impact testing; up to 300 ft-lbf capacity / hammer
INSTRON Dynatup Impact Testing SystemImpact testing; 10 lb weight with 3 metre drop tower
MTS High-Speed Load FrameUp to 55,000 lbf at up to 8 metres per second


(NRC proprietary software)

Crack growth simulation software for multi-site damage scenarios (unlimited number of cracks)


(NRC proprietary software)

Probabilistic damage tolerance analysis software to calculate the probability of failure for aircraft structural risk assessment






General-purpose and multi-physics finite element analysis software, including advanced non-linear analysis modules




Damage Tolerance / Fatigue Crack Growth Software. Specialized fracture mechanics software with strong emphasis on aerospace applications.
  • Department of National Defence (DND)
  • Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)
  • Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC)
  • Director General Aerospace Equipment Program Management (DGAEPM)
  • Bombardier Aerospace
  • Bell Helicopter
  • L3Harris (formerly L-3 Communications (Canada) Military Aircraft Services (MAS))
  • IMP Aerospace
  • Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC)
  • Siemens Canada
  • Transport Canada
  • Carleton University
  • Université Laval
  • NSERC – Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
  • IRAP – Industrial Research Assistance Program
  • CRIAQ – Consortium de recherche et d'innovation en aérospatiale au Québec
  • CARIC – Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Canada