Both the automotive and aerospace industries continue to drive the development of lightweight steels, stronger aluminums, and composite materials. When characterizing the materials they plan to use in their designs, engineers in these industries trust the results from universal testing machines that are able to measure force accuracies to the millinewton and displacement accuracies down to the micron. This high level of accuracy has allowed advances in materials development to leap forward while enabling engineers to tailor materials to meet the needs of their specific applications: lightening vehicles, tailoring stiffness to individual sub-assemblies, and ultimately getting a leg up on the competition.
Though an advanced testing machine may be considered the most important component of a test setup, it is just as important to consider the fixtures that hold the specimens in place inside the test space. From seemingly simple compression platens to hydraulic tensile grips, fixtures are a key component of materials testing and are used in every single type of test.