Virtual Laboratory Instrument Training Series

Web Site Design
Dr. Glen A. Stone
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
501 East Saint Joseph Street * Rapid City, SD 57701
(605)394-1284 * FAX (605)394-3369

© 2002 - Dr. Glen A. Stone - SDSM&T

Instrument: MTS 20 kip Materials Testing System: TestStar IIs Controller

Unsupervised Use of This Instrument Requires Passing an Instrument Usage Quiz
Instrument Location: MI 125

Table of Contents
Quick Links to Web Page Topics

  1. Vocabulary
  2. Instrument Users
  3. Faculty Mentors
  4. Safety!
  5. Report Injuries
  6. Prevent Damage
  7. Maintenance
  8. Instrument Operation
  9. Links to Laboratory Handouts Prepared to Aid Student Learning
    1. Link to Sophomore Laboratory Handout (MET 231)
  10. Quizzes and Surveys

Typical tensile test data collected in the MET 231 Laboratory.

  1.  Vocabulary associated with this instrument.

Interrogate the instrument by placing the curser over various regions of the instrument.
Pop-up boxes will appear.
Adjustable Upper Crosshead -- the crosshead can be unlocked and moved up or down so as to provide space for hot or cold cells or to adjust for different type of test fixtures. Instron 20,000 lbf flat or round specimen grip. Hydraulic Ram - servo controlled hydraulic jack capable of applying a load of 20,000 lb<sub>f</sub> load on a test specimen. Load Cell -- 20,000 lbf -- electronic load cell provides a measurement of load as a function of time and is the feed back signal when the machine is programmed for load control. Universal Joint - helps maintain alignment in the loading system. Hydraulic Servo Valve -- provides a feedback control signal for constant velocity control and constant rate of load control, which ever is selected. LVDT -- linear variable differential transformer is directly under hydraulic jack.  This instrument provides feedback for the hydraulic servo controller when the instrument is programmed for displacement control. Remote Station Controller -- the keypad provides remote hydraulic control, visual presentation of active signals, and test controls. Computer Display -- TestStar IIs and station controller parameters are modified and displayed.

  2.  Who uses this instrument?

MET 231, MET 331, and MET 441/541 Lab Classes, CAMP, CAAN, and Researchers

  3.  Who are the responsible faculty?

Mechanical Laboratory Mentors
Dr. Dana Medlin
Office: MI 104

  4.  Safety!

  • There are safety issues of concern associated with the MTS 20 kip Materials Testing System.
  • Students are not allowed to work alone in the lab. Undergraduate and graduate students must be supervised by the professor in charge until the microscope-driving test is passed. There must always be a lab partner present when any equipment is being used in this laboratory.
  • A logbook is not maintained for the MTS 20 kip Materials Testing System.

  5.  Report Injuries

Report any injury, no matter how minor, to the person supervising the laboratory. If this person is not available find the department chair or the department secretary. If there is a major injury requiring medical attention:
call 0-911
The nearest phone is located in the main entrance stairwell.

  6.  Past Damage

  7.  Maintenance

  • Regular Scheduled Maintenance
    • The instrument is maintained by the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering.
  • Maintenance Expected of Student and Staff Users
    • Each student using the equipment must replace all tools and other resources used into there proper place for the next user. Make every effort to maintain a clean and efficient working space.

  8.  Instrument Operation Instructions

Quick Links to Instrument Operation Topics

Pretest Preparations

Standard Test Methods for Tension Testing of Metallic Materials
Information regarding the specimen sizes and shapes used to measure the mechanical properties of metallic samples is provided in this standard.

Before placing the specimen into the grips do two simple calculations.

  • Knowing the approximate tensile strength of the metal and specimen dimensions, make sure the total load for the test is less than 20,000 lbf . The maximum load carrying ability of the MES load frame in room MI 125 is 20,000 lbf .
  • Define the desired the strain-rate for the test. Recall that the yield strength and flow stress is a function of strain rate. If comparing new data to established data, where the strain rate of a previous test set is known, run the new set of tests at the same strain-rate.
Be aware that work is being done on the test sample, thus causing the temperature of the tensile specimen to rise during the deformation process. At some temperatures for some metals there can be a strong temperature dependence of the flow stress. It may be necessary to test some alloys at a very low strain-rate to assure heat generated in the sample is dumped to the surrounding at the same rate.

Instron Grips Used on MTS Machine
The only grips available is a set of 20 kip Instron grips designed for flat sheet samples and 0.375 to 0.500 inch diameter cylindrical specimens. A 5/32 inch Allen wrench is needed to change the grip inserts.

1) Switch on the power.
When the TestStar IIs controller and computer are powering up the Green power light and the Amber service light are both ON

Before Proceeding Wait for the Amber Service Light to Turn OFF
2) When the Amber Service Light is OFF

↓ ↓ Double Click on the Station Manager Icon and then Open the Station by Running File "1stConfig" ↓ ↓
3) Possible Selections Depending on Needs
  • Opening the Station also loads the last Test Profile used. If this is the correct test condition, jump to step 5.
  • If the wanted tensile test profile has already been programmed and saved, select and Open Existing Test File, jump to step 5.
  • If a new tensile test program is needed, select Test Setup, then click on the Command tab.
Command Tab Activities

Setting Type of Test
In this Example a Monotonic Test is Selected
Setting Load or Displacement as the Control Mode
In this Example Displacement Control is Selected
Setting Maximum Motion of Hydraulic Ram from Set Point
In this Example 3.000 Inches is Selected


Setting Hydraulic Jack Velocity (rate)
In this Example the Ram Velocity is set at
0.0030 Inches per Second
4) Select the Data Acquisition Tab
Data Acquisition Tab Activities

From Signals Available
move to
Signals Included
  • Channel 1 Displacement
  • Channel 1 Force
  • Time

Define the Desired Time Between Each Data Point and Buffer Size
  • Current Time Between Each Data Point: 0.25 Seconds
  • Current Buffer Size: 2048
5) Go to Data File tab
  • Define the File Name for the current set of test data.
  • Define the File Mode.
    • When Overwrite is selected, a new file name is required for each tensile test.
    • When Append is selected, the data for each tensile test is added to a single file.
  • Define Export Format.
  • Save the test parameters! Use the Save New Test Button in the Basic TestWare tool bar.
6) Reset the station software interlocks
  • No vertical RED bars can be present.
  • If the system will not reset check to see if any of the red emergency stop buttons are locked off. If so unlock.
  • If vertical RED bars are present the hydraulic system will not start.
7) Start the hydraulic pump at the Remote Station Control
  • Turn on hydraulics in the low power mode.
  • Wait till the low power icon stops blinking and then turn on hydraulics to high power.

Mouse Click on Image for Video at DSL or Cable Modem Speed
Play Video at Dial Up Modem Speed
Movie Clip is 35 Seconds
8) Enable the manual control at the Remote Station Control
  • Engage the hydraulic jack manual control, then use the knob to adjust the sample in the grips.
  • Clockwise moves the hydraulics down and vice versa.

Mouse Click on Image for Video at DSL or Cable Modem Speed
Play Video at Dial Up Modem Speed
Movie Clip is 55 Seconds
9) Place Specimen Into Top Grip
  • Align sample so the flat edge is flush with the back of the grip.
  • Close jaws and set the serrations of the grip face into the sample with a firm tap.

Mouse Click on Image for Video at DSL or Cable Modem Speed
Play Video at Dial Up Modem Speed
Movie Clip is 84 Seconds
10) Turn Off Manual Control and Zero Load and Displacement
  • Turn Off manual control at the Remote Station Control.
  • Move the cursor until a rectangular box surrounds the displacement reading, then push the F1 button at the lower left corner of the Remote Station Control.
  • Move the cursor until a rectangular box surrounds the force reading, then push the F1 button at the lower left corner of the Remote Station Control.

Mouse Click on Image for Video at DSL or Cable Modem Speed
Play Video at Dial Up Modem Speed
Movie Clip is 98 Seconds
11) Clamp the bottom grip
  • Clamp firmly the bottom grip. Take care not to bend the specimen or otherwise damage the specimen while clamping the bottom grip.

Mouse Click on Image for Video at DSL or Cable Modem Speed
Play Video at Dial Up Modem Speed
Movie Clip is 64 Seconds
12) Run the tensile test
  • Push the green Run button on the Remote Station Control, or use Computer Control to start the tensile test.
  • When specimen fractures, push the orange colored Hold button.
    • Remove the fractured specimen.
    • Push the red Stop button.
    • If any SEM studies of the fracture surface are planned protect the fracture surfaces from being damaged.
  • What Next?
    • If a test is to follow go to step 8.
    • If no tests are to follow
      • Push the low-pressure hydraulic button, followed in a few seconds by pushing the hydraulic OFF button.
      • Close the station manager on the computer.
      • Shut down the computer.
      • Turn OFF the power to the TestStar II controller and computer.

Mouse Click on Image for Video at DSL or Cable Modem Speed
Play Video at Dial Up Modem Speed
Movie Clip is 155 Seconds

Coming Soon -- The Creep Test

Coming Soon -- The Fatigue Test

  9.  Link to Quiz and Web Site Evaluation Form

  • If you are enrolled in MET 231, 331 or 441/541 the Username and Password is your student ID number.
  • If you are working on a CAMP or AMP project and enrolled as a graduate or undergraduate student, contact Dr. Medlin via email. Your Password and Username will set as your student ID number.
  • If you are a visitor, email or contact Dr. Medlin directly. A temporary Username and Password will be provided.
Unsupervised use of this equipment requires passage of the qualifying quiz with a grade of 100%