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TARRC opens MRB Rubber Engineering Lab

TARRC opens MRB Rubber Engineering Lab

The Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre (TARRC) has opened a new MRB Rubber Engineering Laboratory recently in Brickendonbury, Hertford, that will provide the global earthquake community with a research and testing resource that will enhance and promote the use of Malaysian technology for seismic protection.

Within this new laboratory TARRC engineers have designed and built a large rubber component test machine that can test full-scale bearings under full-scale earthquake conditions, as well as having the capability to test other large structural rubber-based bearings.Over the last four decades, TARRC and the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) has played a pioneering role in developing natural rubber based products for protecting structures and their contents from earthquake damage. At the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Grand Opening of the new laboratory on April 9, Sankara Narayanan Nair, Chairman of MRB Board, remarked, “Malaysia is very proud to have the vision to invest in this unique machine, a ‘first’ of its kind in the world that will ensure that we remain global leaders in this area.’Today, Malaysian manufacturers have a global reputation in providing high quality antiseismic devices such as rubber-steel laminated seismic isolators. To maintain seismic isolators’ global share of the market MRB has continued its leading research tradition so that Malaysian manufacturers can continue to enjoy their enviable position in this market and be able to provide increasingly sophisticated advice and commercial R&D services to the civil engineering community.

This exciting development also puts TARRC and its commercial unit, Rubber Consultants at the forefront of providing antiseismic and structural bearings testing to manufacturers worldwide. Commercial testing will be offered from August this year, and ISO 17025 accredited testing for seismic isolation to EN15129 will be available from January 2020. The new machine is a large-scale unique and versatile machine capable of testing large engineering components such as laminated metal-rubber seismic and structural bearings with dimensions up to 1000mm diameter. For these kinds of safety critical components, stringent testing is required that subjects the bearings to a range of demanding and complex conditions similar to those experienced in service.

No other machine of its kind in the world has the capability of complex combined testing of components in axial, shear and tilting modes of deformation. The laboratory will provide CE marking testing services for manufacturers of these components to access the European market. This is one of the most powerful and versatile test machines of its kind worldwide capable of providing 10MN compression load and a shear load of 1MN with a stroke of 1m. The actuators are under servocontrol, so can deliver any time-history command within the oil-flow capacity of the 600kW hydraulic powerpack system. The purpose built MRB Rubber Engineering Laboratory, an area of about 216 sqm, is also home to a range of other state-of -the-art test equipment for dynamic and multiaxial testing of smaller components including tyres and test pieces for material properties characterisation and behaviour modelling.

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