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Compression Test


A compression test is any test in which a material experiences opposing forces that push inward upon the specimen from opposite sides or is otherwise compressed, “squashed”, crushed, or flattened. The test sample is generally placed in between two plates that distribute the applied load across the entire surface area of two opposite faces of the test sample and then the plates are pushed together by a universal test machine causing the sample to flatten. A compressed sample is usually shortened in the direction of the applied forces and expands in the direction perpendicular to the force. A compression test is essentially the opposite of the more common tension test.

Purpose of Compression Tests:

The goal of a compression test is to determine the behavior or response of a material while it experiences a compressive load by measuring fundamental variables, such as, strain, stress, and deformation. By testing a material in compression the compressive strength, yield strength, ultimate strength, elastic limit, and the elastic modulus among other parameters may all be determined. With the understanding of these different parameters and the values associated with a specific material it may be determined whether or not the material is suited for specific applications or if it will fail under the specified stresses.

Types of Compression Tests:

In general a compression test for a material involves at least two opposing forces directed towards each other applied to opposite face of the test sample so that the sample is compressed. However, there are many different variations to this basic test setup that involve any combination of different variables. The more common compression tests involve forces applied to more than one axis of the specimen as well as the testing of the sample at elevated and lowered temperatures. Uniaxial, biaxial, triaxial, cold temperature, elevated temperature are all examples of different compression tests that may be performed upon a material.

Types of Compression Testing materials:

Typically materials subjected to compression testing have a compressive strength generally accepted to be high and a tensile strength (e.g tensile test) than is considered to be of a lower value. Almost all materials can experience compressive forces in one way or another depending upon their application, but the most common materials are composites, concretes, wood, stone, brick, mortars, grouts, polymers, plastics, foam and metals among many others.  

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