Strength of Materials and Structural Monitoring

Our experts develop strategies for mechanical tests and innovative instrumentation that help you understand, improve and anticipate the mechanical behavior of materials and structures.

We provide support for your R&D projects by carrying out complex, multi-scale or multi-property tests with assistance from laboratories at Université de Nantes. Our teams are recognized for their ability to develop custom test benches and design new monitoring strategies for your materials and structures.

We take part in your projects in the lab as well as on-site, from carrying out structural health monitoring (SHM) to using artificial intelligence to predict maintenance operations. Our expertise in composite materials and civil engineering structures in the marine environment is unparalleled.


Benchmarking, advice


Multi-scale tests


R&D projects

Mechanical testing on composite materials

We can conduct your static and dynamic tests at different scales: from centimeter-sized test tubes to parts that are several meters long. Our experts use inventive strategies to secure the mechanical behavior of your composite parts, structures and assemblies. Our test benches are custom developed so you can carry out complex tests and measure the fatigue and aging of composites.

In a nutshell
Static testsFatigueAgingComplexe tests in aggressive environmentsCustom test benches

Characterization and testing on concrete and cementitious materials

Our tests provide you with the mechanical and physiochemical properties of your materials, whether they are in the lab during a preliminary certification phase or on site during construction. We have a fleet of equipment for characterizing materials and their properties of mechanical strength, thermal insulation, permeability, etc.

In a nutshell

Characterisation of concrete

  • Reaction rates, setting of concrete and hardening of binders
  • Study of the workability of concrete
  • Shrinkage and swelling measurements
  • Density
  • Air content

Formulation of resistant concretes in the marine environment

  • Formulation of concretes suitable for immersion or interaction with the sea
  • Mechanical and physico-chemical characterisation, validation of concrete properties

Development of low-impact concretes

  • Formulation of eco-materials, fibre-reinforced concrete based on plant fibres, industrial co-products, sediments, recycled concrete, etc.
  • Physical characterisation of sands and aggregates: modulus of fineness, density and absorption coefficient
  • Leaching tests: characterising the release of polluting substances
  • Durability and aging tests
  • Benchmark, search for ways to valorise

Durability of concrete structures

  • Physico-chemical characterisation
  • Corrosion measurements
  • Porosity accessible to water, mercury, gas permeability
  • Migration, diffusion of chloride ions
  • Thermal characterisation

Mechanical testing of concrete

  • Flexural strength, compressive strength, tensile strength
  • Strength of concrete by splitting materials (presses up to 1000kN)
  • Elasticity measurements
  • Fatigue tests
  • Mechanical testing, instrumentation and monitoring, on a large scale (30m² slab)

Concrete pathology expertise

  • Internal sulphate reaction analysis
  • Alkali reaction of aggregates
  • Accelerated reaction tests, within 30 days
  • Microstructural analysis – SEM, TEM imaging
  • X-ray diffraction, spectroscopic analysis
  • Pore distribution: mercury porosimetry

Soil mechanics – erosion in dikes and embankments

Dikes and embankments are subject to intense stress, including exposure to fresh or sea water. This can weaken them over time and lead to serious damage. To prevent risks, we carry out applicable erosion and mechanical tests on civil engineering structures in soil. We use the data to model internal and external erosion phenomena and provide necessary information to infrastructure managers.

In a nutshell
erosion testsdigital modellingerosion phenomenamechanical teststriaxial – shear – oedometryphysical characaterization

Erosion tests in laboratory

  • Jet Erosion test
  • Internal erosion test by suffusion

Erosion prevention

  • Digital modelling of erosion phenomena

Mechanical testing

  • Triaxial tests
  • Shear tests
  • Oedometry tests

Physical characterization tests

  • Water content
  • Density
  • Methylene blue value
  • Plastic and liquid limit (Atterberg)
  • Particle size analysis
  • Permeability tests

Structural Health Monitoring

Our team provides measurement and instrumentation services for your parts, structures and prototypes made of composite materials and innovative materials and alloys. We are unmatched in designing tailor-made sensors for measuring force, displacement, pressure and resistance to strain. Our innovative, solid monitoring strategies are often more economical than standard business solutions.

In a nutshell
Strain testsInstrumentationsCustom sensorsOptical fiberInnovative measurement technologies

Innovative measures strategies

  • Benchmark & state of the art
  • Sensors choice, wireless or not
  • Monitoring strategies
  • Custom sensors development
  • Analyses of results, with or without AI

Strain measurement

  • Distorsion, wireless or not
  • Non-Contact Displacement Sensors
  • Force sensors
  • Pressure
  • Torque
  • Load and weight
  • Temperature

On-site instrumentation

  • Installation of strain jauges on different materials
  • Optic fiber measures
  • Measurements with digital image correlation
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Non destructive structural diagnostic
  • Mesuring campaign

Conception of custom sensors

  • Sensors : force – displacement – distorsion – pressure
  • Adaptation of commercial sensors
  • Design of custom test specimen
  • New optical fiber sensors
  • Strain gauge bonding

Monitoring by optical fiber sensors

  • Integration of optical sensors in your materials and pieces
  • Monitoring of strain, temperature, acceleration, humidity…
  • Digital data acquisition
  • Interpretation and analysis of data

Predicitve maintenance and AI

  • Determination of critical parameters
  • Data pre-processing, qualitative and quantitative analysis of data
  • Machine learning, probabilistic modeling
  • Data visualisation
  • Real-time tracking and alerts
  • Software, web and mobile application developement

Monitoring in marine environment

Concrete structures, like other civil engineering structures, are subject to environmental stress and different types of use-related mechanical stress, which can damage them over time. To prevent risks, we help infrastructure managers identify and understand their materials’ pathologies and monitor their structures by using precise instrumentation coupled with artificial intelligence algorithms.

In a nutshell
Concrete pathology Porosity PermeabilityMulti-parameter testsPreventive maintenanceBio-colonisation monitoring

Concrete pathologies on maritime environment

  • Characterization of the internal sulfate reaction
  • Alkali–aggregate reaction
  • Accelerating aging tests

Tests of durability in maritime environment

  • Porosity – gas permeability
  • Multi-parameters tests in order to mesure aging of materials
  • Effect of chloride ions on reinforced concrete
  • Non-destructive (NDT) and destructive testing

Monitoring of civil engineering works

  • Development of custom sensors, integrated in the structure
  • Instrumentation of structures from their conception
  • Instrumentation of existing structures : specific monitoring
  • Prevention of cracking and breaking mechanisms

Predictive analysis

  • Probabilistic modelling of structural degradation
  • Inspection and maintenance strategies
  • Monitoring of offshore structures
  • Predictive analysis : machine learning and AI

Marine growth on offshore structures

  • BIOCOLMAR: a platform for in site testing of marine growth, corrosion and fatigue effects
  • Monitoring MRE installation sites and collecting environmental and marine growth data

Engineering at CAPACITÉS

Our materials experts perform their engineering duties in the very research laboratories of Nantes Université themselves, most notably at GeM. They strive to combine technical resources and scientific discovery to meet your R&D needs.

Our projects

Challenges we’ve met

Capacités Instruments the Rigid Sail:…

The mechanical engineering experts from Capacités are participating in the second phase of testing for the sail of the future.


Concrete on Cruise Ships

On each ship deck designed by Chantiers de l’Atlantique, layers of concrete are poured before the flooring is fitted. The contractors who apply these layers use different cementitious materials that have different properties – which can pose problems during application. To improve this stage of shipbuilding, the shipyard commissioned experts in geomaterials and civil engineering structures from Capacités to conduct a comparative study of sev…


Contributing to the development of…

A leading aeronautical equipment manufacturer turned to the experts at Capacités to assist in completing the final stages in the development of their novel composite material.


Capacités’ experts instrument helicopter blades

Airbus Helicopters asked Capacités to conduct a detailed study of the blades’ behavior under mechanical strain and incorporate the results into a digital model.


Need an innovative and resourceful partner?

Capacités teams inspire, harness and couple numerous cutting-edge skills covering a wide range of applications and expertise to meet all of your innovation needs with passion and commitment!

+33 (0)2 72 64 88 94

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