Tension/Compression/Bend Testing

Uniaxial tension and compression testing and 3- and 4-point bend testing are utilized to determine common material properties like yield strength, Young's modulus, and ultimate strength.

MCL has two MTS Criterion load frames for conducting tension, compression, and bend experiments: a 50 kN load frame and a 100 kN load frame. These loads are noted as the maximum capacity of the instruments; MCL has additional load cells to bring down the force capacity to improve the force resolution. Additionally, MCL also has a fluid bath and a moderate temperature chamber on the 50 kN load frame and a high temperature furnace on the 100 kN load frame. Each instrument is also equipped with a video extensometer for measuring strain.


50 kN MTS Criterion load frame
The 50 kN load frame system at MCL has multiple load cells, multiple fixtures for testing in different stress states, a fluid bath, a moderate temperature chamber, and a video extensometer.
The multiple load cells can be piggybacked onto the system to bring down the maximum load capacity and improve the force resolution. Load cells which have been calibrated with this system include: 5kN, 1 kN, 50 N, and 10 N.
The multiple fixtures which can be switched to suit suit your sample dimensions and stress state (tension, compression, 3- and 4-point bend) include:

  • Tension:MTS Advantage Wedge grips (50 kN capacity, temperature range: -130 to 315 °C) with flat+serrated grip faces and vee+serrated grip faces
  • Compression: MTS Fundamental Compression platens (50 kN capacity, temperature range: -50 to 149 °C)
  • Bend: 3- and 4- point bend fixture (30 kN capacity, temperature range: -129 to 149 °C) 
    • lower fixture span: 24 - 152 mm
    • upper fixture span: 24 - 76 mm
    • 10 mm diameter rollers

The MTS Bionix Envirobath (fluid bath) has a 6 L fluid capacity and a temperature range of 5 °C above ambient temperature to 40 °C. The internal dimensions for this fluid bath are 130 (width) by 480 (height) by 100 (depth) mm. Additionally, MCL has specific grips for working within the flip bath. These grips include:

  • Tension: MTS Bionix Scissors Action grip (1 kN capacity); MTS Bionix Action Vise Grip (5 kN capacity)
  • Compression: MTS Bionix Compression platens (10 kN capacity)

The MTS Advantage Environmental Chamber (moderate temperature chamber) has a temperature range of -129 to 315 °C, a side port for cables, and a glass observation window suitable for non-contact optical measurements (i.e. video extensometer, digital image correlation). The internal dimensions for this chamber are 254 by 254 by 813 (length) mm. 
The MTS Advantage Video Extensometer allows for non-contact strain measurements with typical displacement resolutions of 0.13 µm and an image capture frequency ranging from 0.1 to 30 Hz. Minimum measureable strain values are 0.01%. Operation is simple, with only 2 points required for tracking during mechanical testing.


100 kN MTS Criterion load frame
The 100 kN load frame system at MCL has hydraulic wedge grips, a high temperature furnace, and a video extensometer. This system is only equipped with a 100 kN load cell. 
The hydraulic wedge grips are designed to ensure even specimen loading across the entire grip face and minimize bending strains. These grips have both flat+serrated grip faces and vee+serrated grip faces.
The MTS High Temperature furnace is a clam-shell designed furnace with can achieve temperature up to 1200 °C. The dimensions of the hot zone are 50 by 50 by 50 mm. 
​The MTS Advantage Video Extensometer allows for non-contact strain measurements with typical displacement resolutions of 0.13 µm and an image capture frequency ranging from 0.1 to 30 Hz. Minimum measureable strain values are 0.01%. Operation is simple, with only 2 points required for tracking during mechanical testing.


Sample dimensions

Specimen geometries and dimensions are identified in relevant ASTM standards.  Penn State affliliated students and professors can access these standards through Penn State Library's ASTM database.

Note: The maximum allowable frequency of each of these load frames is 1 Hz. These load frames were not designed for fatigue testing.