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SANAS-accredited mechanical testing facility supports industrialisation

Publication Date: 
Friday, December 17, 2021

The CSIR mechanical testing laboratory 

The mechanical properties of structural components are critical as they indicate how materials perform when subjected to stress. The CSIR’s mechanical testing laboratory supports mechanical properties testing for the research and development of light metals.

The CSIR mechanical testing laboratory 

The mechanical properties of structural components are critical as they indicate how materials perform when subjected to stress. The CSIR’s mechanical testing laboratory supports mechanical properties testing for the research and development of light metals.

The facility started as a support unit for research and development in light metals but has, over the years, extended its services to support local and international clients. South African universities now also regularly use the facility for specialised tests. The facility takes part in international proficiency tests to qualify materials and approve test methods.

The CSIR mechanical testing laboratory determines the mechanical properties of metallic materials, ceramic materials and powder compacts. Depending on the scope of the work required, other materials, like polymers, glass and composites are also tested.

The laboratory was used for the qualification of materials used in construction work for what will be the world’s largest telescope, the Square Kilometre Array, and advanced materials testing for Eskom’s power stations. In addition, the laboratory tested materials for the construction of the Nelson Mandela Bridge and the 2010 soccer world cup stadia. All the tests are International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission 17025:2005 accredited, making the facility an attractive option to many industrial clients, especially for material qualification.

The mechanical testing facility capabilities

  • Tensile testing at room temperature
  • Tensile testing up to 650°C
  • Fatigue testing (low-cycle and high-cycle fatigue)
  • Fatigue crack growth rates
  • Fracture toughness
  • Compression testing
  • Bend testing (three-point bend test)
  • Diametral compression test
  • Limited component testing (such as fishhooks and handcuffs)
  • Strain gauging of specimens and components during testing

 

The mechanical testing laboratory collaborates with other test facilities – such as inspection, testing, verification and certification companies such as SGS and the South African Bureau of Standards, as well as companies such as Scaw metals, Security Metal Products, Cermalab and Transnet.