Mechanical testing is being carried out, both on individual fibres and on sintered fibre networks, to evaluate the elastic constants, plastic deformation, fatigue and fracture characteristics. The elastic constants, yield strength and fracture energy of the fibre network materials is measured as a function of network architecture. The studies are focused on austenitic (316L) and ferritic (444, 446 and 436L) stainless steels.
A conventional DC electro-magnet, providing a maximum homogeneous field capability of about 1.6 Tesla, has been purchased and set up. Magnetically-induced deformation of fibre network materials is measured via scanning laser extensometry (macroscopic deformations) and laser speckle interferometry (surface strain mapping). The magnetic hysteresis loops of the fibres themselves, and of the bonded fibre networks, is measured using a Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID).