University Partnerships

Zwick continuously supports students of universities and institutions of higher education with their bachelor, master, and doctoral theses. Zwick can often lend support by providing test equipment needed for their scientific work. Through this work, new and improved test methods and products are developed, which in turn, enhance Zwick's own portfolio. We have developed close working relationships with universities and institutions over the years. Zwick's expertise in materials testing and engineering coupled with the scientific analyses conducted by our university partners create this type of collaborative partnership.
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Micro grips

Over the last few years, the demand for testing solutions that accommodate smaller and smaller specimens has grown. Sometimes specimens are small because they are taken from components with small geometries and sizes, or sometimes it is useful to examine the scaling effects of the material characteristics. Even in the fields of standardization, standard mini-specimens have already been defined for various materials.

In this context, Zwick has begun a joint project with the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts aimed at optimizing how such mini-specimen are handled.

For this project, a new specimen grip for micro tensile specimens has been designed as part of a bachelor's thesis. The paper examines both the handling and alignment of small specimens.

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Special Clamping with Linear Guide

In order to better accommodate specimens, the entire specimen grip is removed from the machine and placed ergonomically on the table. The specimen is positioned on a carriage and centered in the grips. The carriage is then removed and the upper jaw is moved toward the specimen and fixed in place.

Now the entire specimen grip can be hung by means of a special mount in the testing machine. This procedure, with the help of a linear guide, ensures that angled pulling and other parasitic forces are minimized.

By using laserXtens compact HP, even the smallest specimens with gage lengths of less than 3 mm can be characterized mechanically in their entirety.

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Optical Strain Measurement

Direct strain measurement is particularly important. A high resolution and a high degree of accuracy is vital since the absolute deformation often equals only a few µms due to the dimensions of the specimen. That is why laserXtens compact HP is the ideal extensometer. Only one non-contact measuring system can deliver reliable test results for specimens with these dimensions.

The image below shows a titanium alloy specimen from the IISc Bangalore with a complete stress-strain curve. The black curve was measured by laserXtens compact and the red curve was measured with the moving crosshead.


Biaxial Test Fixture

Zwick decided to design a fixture for a biaxial tensile test based on a publication submitted by Nihon University for the 2011 Zwick Science Award. In contrast to a standard biaxial testing machine, the multi-axial stress state is achieved in a universal testing machine by means of a deflector.

The deflector is mounted in a standard testing machine and a compressive force is applied across four arms to a cruciform specimen in the X and Y directions. The force values are recorded by four load cells, and the deformation of the specimen is recorded from below by a videoXtens or laserXtens system.

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Cooperation with Other Universities and Industry Partners

Together with the company GOM, the first tests using an ARAMIS system have been performed. They show the strain distribution when a specimen with geometries defined in ISO16842 is tested. These initial measurements were the impetus for close cooperation with TU Munich.


Biaxial test fixture

Biaxial test fixture for mounting in a standard materials testing machine

Materials testing: radioactive materials for nuclear fusion

Research into fusion as an energy source has as its aim the development of hydrogen isotopes as a new, clean fuel for our future energy supply. The physics behind this energy source are complicated. However, the real challenge presently lies in developing materials which can withstand the extreme loads to which they are subjected within the reactors, with plasmas at a temperature of 100 million degrees and extremely strong particle and neutron streams.