Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Need to Purchase a Universal Testing Machine

  1. Apr 10, 2015 #1
    Hey all,

    I have been put in charge of developing my company's research and development "lab" and I am currently looking for some testing equipment to buy. My background is in civil engineering, however I did do a small amount of material testing in school, and I'm familiar with the concepts. One of the crucial pieces of equipment that I feel we would need is a universal testing machine. The only issue, is that I know basically NOTHING about universal testing machines or the different brands.

    The company I work for is a commercial curtain wall design and manufacturing facility. The idea of the research and development id to test the materials we currently use (aluminum, steel, PVC, silicone, EPDM) and compare them to other materials we are investigating and compare their strengths etc.

    My question is, what type/brand of universal testing machine would be best? Is there a tried and true machine for basic material testing that is industry trusted/standard? For lack of better terms, basically the AK47 of universal testing machines. Not the best, not the worst, reliable, adaptable, etc. Any help would be appreciated!

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 10, 2015 #2


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Testing costs money and is wasted if you test for attributes that you don't need or care about. Testing saves money and time when you test for the critical components or quality characteristics of the material you need to meet or maintain.

    Given those two extremes, you need to determine (and tell us) what is important ie material quality or rigidity or whatever vs what aint important ie color, because you will paint or finish with something etc.

    Lets pretend I am interested in the brittleness of steel plates. A ball peen steel hammer might be the best QC tool I can have. I could also augment that with a Burnel gage to measure hardness as well.
  4. Apr 10, 2015 #3
    Thanks for the reply CalcNerd.

    The intent of purchasing the universal testing machine would be to measure the compressive and tensile strength of the different materials. We currently have standards and equipment already in place to test finish, colour, and other quality characteristics.
  5. Jun 26, 2015 #4
    Hi banfillb,
    Maybe I can help you,
    please send the capacity you need and standards,
    then the suitable machine will be recommended to you.

    my email:<< e-mail address deleted by Moderator >>
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2015
  6. Jul 8, 2015 #5
    instron is widely used. for extensometers, i like epsilon. for strain gages, i like omega.
  7. Jul 8, 2015 #6


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    When setting up a lab like this, another approach would be to use the services of a local test lab to do the tests at first, to get a feel for what capabilities and machines you really need. There is no need to spend $100s of thousands of dollars on machines you will rarely use, and underutilize when you do use them. Once you get a feel for the tests and test levels that are working for you at the outside lab, you will have a much better feel for what equipment to buy to save money on the test lab fees.
  8. Feb 18, 2016 #7
    I would recommend first getting an idea of the exact tests you would like to perform. Each test is different, for instance a bend test on plastics is much different than a bend test on metals or glass. In each case you will need different types of fixtures, load cells, and accessories.

    The best thing to do is to get a list of tests you would like to perform on your samples. You can find a consolidated library of mechanical testing standards here from Universal Grip Co. Once you know what tests are important to you in your lab, you will be able to make a better decision on which type of machine to buy. Purchasing a Universal Testing Machine is not overly complicated, however it takes a bit of research. If you can find a good salesperson they will guide you through the process and teach you what you need to know.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook