High Strain Rate Tensile Testing Apparatus

Executive Summary

Characterizing the material response of thermoplastic polymers at intermediate strain rates (1s-1 to ≤ 200s-1), commonly encountered in automotive collisions and crashes, is critical for predicting their failure strength and post-impact behavior. However, investigative experimental techniques required to generate tensile stress-strain data at these loading rates are not well established. Researchers at Michigan State University have recently developed a new apparatus for testing materials at intermediate strain rates. The apparatus can deliver reliable tensile stress-strain data, particularly for soft thermoplastic polymers that undergo large deformations before yield and failure.


Description of the Technology

The technology is based on a double-acting drop weight impact apparatus with load cells, whereby vertical impact force is bifurcated into equal horizontal forces on both ends. A laser detection system with a high-speed camera, data acquisition system, and digital image correlation is used to obtain strain information. The system has been tested on various plastic and composite materials and validated with Aluminum Alloy 6061-T6 data reported in the literature corresponding to two unique strain rates.



  • Allows quasi-homogenous stress and strain fields (dynamic equilibrium) along the sample gage length
  • Flexibility of changing the impact force simply by changing the height of impact or adding weights to the carriage
  • Eliminates the possibility of mode-I failure of the test sample; failure is purely tensile
  • Provides a smooth load response without further data filtration
  • Minimal preload on the sample
  • Intertial correction can be applied
  • Samples of different sizes and geometries can be tested



  • Intermediate and high strain rate testing of automotive materials (steel, aluminum, glass, plastic, rubber, composite materials)


Patent Status

Patent pending


Licensing Rights

Full licensing rights available



Dr. Mahmood Haq, Dr. Syed Fahad Hassan, Dr. Oleksii Karpenko




Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Jon Debling
Technology Manager
Michigan State University