Test and specification ensures that systems and materials work as expected and are used with the utmost efficiency, but life is inherently variable whilst specifications need to be reproducible and practical. Products will be designed to meet specifications, so test standards should aim to maximise the characteristics that the user needs.
How many times or how well does an item need to pass a test for the user to the be confident that it will work? This is particularly so for safety equipment that either saves a life or doesn't; perhaps many years after manufacture.
Can the lab be trusted to do the test correctly? ISO9001 accreditation means the lab has a quality system which provides confidence in the overall management process. ISO17025 accreditation provides confidence that the specified test procedures are followed but the accreditation is only for the specified process or procedure.
Body armour must protect the user from a specified set of threats, but at the same must be comfortable and not place undue physiological burden on the wearer.
Engineers always try to avoid fast fracture due to its sudden and catastrophic effect. For many application of polymers it is essential to understand their fracture mechanics under impact loading. Technical Committee 4 (TC4) of the European Structural Integrity Society (ESIS) studies fracture mechanics of composites polymers and adhesive with high rate fracture being one area of interest.
International Conference on Fracture of Polymers Composites and Adhesives organised by ESIS TC4.