Universal Test Stand

John Hondred, Matt Roghair, and Todd Verhoef

The Dordt College Engineering Department needs a loading device to apply force to the lathe bridges that are designed and built in the Introduction to Engineering course, as well as a way to test large concrete beams for upper level courses. The apparatus must be able to simultaneously record force and displacement values in real time.

We designed a steel testing frame that can withstand the large loads needed for testing a concrete beam and with fine enough resolution to accurately measure the smaller loads for testing lathe bridges. The design uses a hand-powered hydraulic cylinder to apply the force and a string potentiometer to record the displacement. The instantaneous force and displacement values are recorded in excel spreadsheets to facilitate analysis.