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The University of Southampton
Rifi An Enterprise Consultancy Unit


Rifi works in three ways, namely consultancy projects for business and industry, applied research of a longer term nature funded by industry/Government/EU and contributions towards research and education. RIfI brings practical aspects to teaching activities, and an industrial perspective to research activities, and an ability to bring partners and industrial support to research bids.

Rifi works in the field of materials and structural testing, as well as standard testing, we also specialise in cyrogenics, experimental mechanics and high strain rate testing.

What is Cryogenics?

Cryogenics is the science and technology of low temperature.  This includes the study of materials and the engineering of equipment used at these temperatures.  Cryogenics is an enabling technology applying low temperature physics and thermodynamics to areas as broad as magnets for MRI scanners, superconducting generators for wind turbines and systems which transport liquid natural gas (LNG) around the globe.

Rifi has expertise in design and engineering for low temperature applications alongside a wide range of measurement capabilities.  Thermal, mechanical, electrical and thermo-mechanical experimental measurements can be conducted down to 4.2 K.

What is Experimental Mechanics?

Experimental mechanics is the investigation, by experimental means, of the mechanical behaviour of engineering systems subjected to load. The system can be a structure, a material, soft matter such as human tissue, a fluid-structure coupling; the list is practically endless. A wide range of testing and measurement techniques are used to capture the system's behaviour, such as deformation or mechanical strain. For example conventional strain gauges or extensometers can be applied to measure strain and obtain material properties or optical measurement techniques such as digital image correlation (DIC) will provide a full-field assessment of the strain distribution. The behaviour can then be related to a failure parameter, inform or validate numerical and finite element models, or provide more information of a material or structure performance.

What is high strain rate testing?

High strain rate testing is key to understanding the behaviour of a material or substructure when subjected to sudden, dynamic loading such as during a crash or impact. In particular this can be important for material qualification subjected to impact type loads using our drop weight tower, or to provide material data for modelling using our Instron VHS test machine at speeds up to 20 ms-1 and our in-house Split Hopkinson bar which is currently setup for composite materials, but can be modified to test others.

Rifi also has extensive experience of the use of high speed imaging to complement testing at high strain rates. The imaging can be used to offer insight into material behaviour and failure which is impossible to ascertain with the naked eye. Additionally, we have expertise in applying optical measurement techniques, such as DIC, during high rate testing which allows the full-field strain evolutions to be captured.

Mechanical testing


Rifi's services spreads across the fields of cryogenics, experimental mechanics and structural modelling.

Cryo compression test - expertise


Rifi's expertise spreads across the fields of cryogenics, experimental mechanics and structural modelling.

LNG carrier - case studies

Case studies

Some examples of previous consultancy projects conducted by Rifi.

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