At Zwick in Ulm a test bench has recently been developed for the performance of dynamic fatigue tests on soft elastic foams. The tests are carried out as per the relevant standards, e.g. ISO 3385 and ASTM D 3574, or in compliance with the specifications set by automobile manufacturers.
Such tests encompass three parts in all. First, the specimen thickness and the indentation hardness of the conditioned foam after a recovery time are determined. Then the actual fatigue testing is performed: depending on the specification at hand, anywhere between 8,000 and 150,000 cycles may be run. Finally, both the height and hardness losses are measured in a new test. The test results yield information on the mechanical wear of the foam as might occur if used in car seats, for example.
The heart of the test bench is an electromechanical cylinder which, moving at a speed of up to 30 m/min., generates the necessary load. A built-in force measurement feature together with the testControl control electronics insures that the prescribed force thresholds are strictly observed during testing.
Yet this test bench can do more than merely perform the fatigue cycles: equipped with suitable compression platens or indentation stamps, this device can also be used to determine the indentation or crush hardness of specimens, thus offering the full range of functionality of a testing machine.
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