STAR Impact Research Facility (SIRF)

SIRF houses a research range for testing protective equipment and clothing against ballistic threats, as well as a unique High Speed High Impact simulation rig. This device is a second generation development building on the anti-vehicle underbelly test machine at the Royal British Legion Centre for Blast Injury Studies at Imperial College London. The HSHI simulator is able to accelerate a vertically moving disc of 30 cm diameter to a velocity in excess of 15m/s in less than 10ms. It can be used to simulate the impact force of an IED exploding under a vehicle, for example.

SIRF enables STAR to conduct evaluation of the protection performance of body armour and helmets using test methods specified by the US National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the UK’s Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB). Ancillary testing devices include a Blunt Trauma Torso Rig (BTTR) and Ballistic Load Sensing Headform (BLSH) to enable state-of-the-art testing. The BTTR is used to evaluate injury potential from behind armour blunt trauma. It consists of a flexible membrane tuned to match the human chest response. Impact severity and associated risk of behind armour blunt trauma is assessed by measuring the dynamic deflection of the membrane and the loading area. The BLSH system consists of load measuring and penetration headforms to assess the ballistic impact protection performance of helmets. The BLS headforms enable a direct measurement of the dynamic loads on the skull and impact deformation testing of helmets. The forces can be correlated to risk of injury such as skull fracture.

Materials Imaging

The ability to image materials down to nano-resolution levels is critical in material analysis and testing. DSC_4847The Solidification Processing and Simulation Laboratory at UBCO features one of Canada’s most advanced X-ray micro-tomography facilities, which provides unique 3D images of the internal structure of many different types of materials. This facility, together with the Scanning Electron Microscopy Lab (SEMLab) and the Micro Fabrication facilities, make up the 2small2c capability at UBC Okanagan.

The SEMLab is housed within the Fipke Laboratory for Trace Element Research (FiLTER) in the basement of the Charles E. Fipke Centre for Innovative Research. It is a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary research facility that allows scientists to measure minute particles, scan them at the atomic level, and determine their origin. Other equipment in the FiLTER lab performs spectrometry and laser analysis. A ThermoFisher X2 quadrupole inductively coupled mass spectrometry instrument (ICP-MS) is used for trace element analysis of elements such as lead or uranium at concentrations in the range of parts per billion. The ThermoFisher Element XR double focusing ICP-MS is a more sensitive machine used for ultra-low trace element concentrations and measuring minute, low volume samples. A Photon Machines Analyte 193 Excimer laser can be used to blast solid samples into gaseous aerosols, which are fed to one of the two ICP-MSs to measure isotope ratios or determine element concentrations.

The latest addition to the FiLTER lab is a Cameca SixFiveFE Electron Probe MicroAnalyzer. It will be the only microprobe of its kind in North America. It is used for non-destructive elemental analysis of micron-sized volumes at the surface of materials, with sensitivity at the level of ppm. The primary importance of the microprobe is the ability to acquire precise, quantitative elemental analyses at very small “spot” sizes (as little as 1-2 microns), primarily by wavelength-dispersive spectroscopy (WDS). Major applications are found in geochemistry, mineralogy, geochronology, physical metallurgy, nuclear metallurgy, materials science including glass, ceramics, superconductors, cements, microelectronics, and biochemistry.