Mechanical Testing Facility

The Mechanical Testing Facility supports the teaching and research activities of the University at all levels. Whilst not a test house, the MTF is also able to undertake some consultancy and external work.


The MTF sits across two departments (Mechanical Engineering Sciences and Civil and Environmental Engineering), and supports work from across the University. Primarily this work sits within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences (FEPS), but some work with the Vet School and School of Biology and Medical Sciences is also undertaken. The fundamental ethos of the MTF is Materials and Structures Characterisation, with testing from the nano- to macro-scales.

Example of output from DIC – here, a notched specimen is placed in four point bending, with the notch in the tensile face.  The image shows the intensity of the tensile and compressive forces at the surfaces, decreasing to zero at the neutral axis, but concentrated at the tip of the notch.
Notched Perspex beam in 4-point bending: strain field determ [...]


The Mechanical Testing Facility is built around a suite of universal (screw-driven) and servo-hydraulic test frames, allowing us to undertake quasi-static, dynamic and fatigue experiments.

The nature of the frames is such that we can adapt the frame for a particular experiment allowing us to test a range of specimens in tension, compression, flexure and shear. The biggest frame allows us to test up to 1 MN, but the suite is set up to allow us to move load cells, down to 10 N capacity, into the appropriate frame to give us flexibility over window size.

As well as traditional strain gauges and extensometers, we have a suite of cameras with which to undertake digital image correlation (DIC). We use Correlated Solution’s VIC-Snap for acquisition and VIC-3D for analysis.

Demonstration of DIC set-up with two cameras for 3D imaging.
Stereo camera set up for 3D digital image correlation.


Dr David Jesson – Manager
Tel: +44 (0)1483 686299

Example of long term testing investigating the ability to patch fatigue cracks.
1 MN test frame, undertaking a fatigue test of a model beam [...]

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