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Animating Mechanical Testing

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Virtual Instrumentation in ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.205.1 - 10.205.5



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Paper Authors

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Michael Kozak

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Frank Brattain

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


Animating Mechanical Testing

Michael J. Kozak, Frank K. Brattain

Purdue University School of Technology


For illustrative purposes it was desired to have a dynamic image showing how a tensile test specimen reacted when loaded in tension to failure. This paper describes the methodology used by the authors to create images based on surface data gathered during a tensile pull test. The data was gathered using a jointed spherical geometry digitizer. Interface software was utilized to capture the digitizer data and to transfer the data to the modeling software package. The captured data was used to create images representing the test data. Manipulation of the data to create the images is described. The images were then animated to give the appearance of a continuous dynamic test. The method used to create this effect is detailed. The authors examine possible improvements to the method used and suggest other possible applications for the technique developed. The animation is used in strength of material classes for the purpose of analyzing mechanical failures of components subjected to severe tensile loading conditions. The animation allows the mechanics of the failure to be demonstrated in detail.


Tensile tests are often used to determine the yield strength and ultimate strength of a material1. A tensile test is often used as a demonstration of material property determination in a strength of materials class. Viewing a tensile test from start to finish makes for an interesting demonstration of tensile fracture and failure of a material specimen. The failure of the specimen can then be extrapolated by use of example to other mechanical members. This can help the student gain a feeling for the mechanism of tensile failure in mechanical components.

A tensile test is performed as one of the initial laboratory exercises in strength of materials class at the authors’ location. Students gather around the universal testing machine (UTM) as a specimen is pulled to failure. It can be difficult for the students to observe the test. The specimen is fairly small and deformations may not be easily noticed. The observer must also have a desirable vantage point from which to observe the test. There is usually not room for more than a few students to have a good viewing location. Even with a favorable viewpoint the subtleties of the deformation may not be perceived by the novice.

Unfortunately, the end result of the tensile test usually consists of the initial sample dimensions, the fractured part, and pull force versus length information. The authors wanted to capture the

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Kozak, M., & Brattain, F. (2005, June), Animating Mechanical Testing Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15541

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