Fastener Testing – Mechanical Testing of Engine Components


by: Alan Thomas, Marketing Department, ZwickRoell Limited

Mechanical testing plays a major role in research, product design and quality control. Tests can be
conducted using a wide range of static and dynamic materials testing machines, which engineers
frequently use during product development. Mechanical testing incorporates a wide range of
techniques, from common tensile and compression tests to flexural or torsional characterisation.
Testing may also occur under ambient or non-ambient conditions, with widely varied temperatures
and environmental conditions.
Universal materials testing machines, capable of conducting static or monotonic tests in tension or
compression, play a vital role in product development and quality control of engine components.
The ability of such equipment to provide raw data which can be utilised by component design
engineers, is essential in the development of new products. The automotive market faces tough
global competition and for this reason, the use of computer-based development methods
continues to grow. However, these simulation methods must be accompanied by real mechanical
tests in the various development phases to determine the important material data.
Many engine components are required to have a defined fatigue strength, which must be verified.
These fatigue tests can be accommodated in a servo-hydraulic test machine but are more quickly
and economically performed using high frequency resonance pulsators or Vibrophores. The
Vibrophore, shown below on the left, is an example of such a machine and provides the ideal
solution for such applications with available force capacities up to 1000 kN. Again, which ever test
method is used, consideration must be given to special gripping arrangements in order to
satisfactorily complete fatigue tests on a wide range of sample types and sizes.

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