In your day to day life, you take it for granted that the car you drive, the elevator you ride, and even the mug you sip your coffee out of will work as intended. Obviously, there are more risks associated with an elevator failure than some spilled coffee, but behind all those products are teams of engineers ensuring the right materials are chosen for the job. Materials testing serves as a way to analyze the properties, and more often than not, investigate how a material responds to different loading conditions. In general, the material that is tested is only a fraction of the size of the finished product, and for good reason.
If a steel beam is needed to support a structure, it might be necessary to stretch, compress, and/or bend the beam to understand how it will respond in real world conditions. Testing the actual beam would take a tremendous effort involving larger equipment, more expansive space requirements, and an exorbitant amount of money. In order to address these issues, the materials testing world relies on universal testing machine (UTMs) to do this work on a much smaller scale. This article will describe how a UTM helps translate small tests into big results. With this knowledge, data acquired from a UTM can help several industries to select better materials, maintain quality standards, and develop new and innovative materials.