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What is the Difference Between a Material Tester and a Force Tester

Learn about the differences between material testers and force testers.
What is the Difference Between a Material Tester and a Force Tester
By: Toby Rogers, Director of Lloyd Instruments Materials Testing Equipment and Chatillon Force Testing Instruments

Sometimes there can be confusion as to the difference between a force tester and a material tester. Force testers are designed to make basic force measurements in applications where the main interest is in peak load and extension. A force tester typically uses a force gauge as the load measurement device. Material testers, however, are much more precise and generally offer greater performance levels. A materials tester will use precision load cells and an internal or external extensometer for elongation measurement. Testing under constant loads or when using thermal chambers require a materials tester. 

AMETEK Test & Calibration Instruments offers the comprehensive range of Chatillon force testers to complement its extensive range of materials testing instruments. Force testers are available in mechanical, motorised, pneumatic and digital versions. Pneumatic testers are ideally suited for use in areas where intrinsic safety is required.

Benefits of Mechanical Force Stands
Mechanical test stands provide an economical, manual testing system for tensile and compression testing either in a production environment or in the laboratory. Testers may be equipped with a quick-action lever or precision hand-wheel for controlling crosshead speed and travel. Typically mechanical testers offer capacity up to 2500N (550 lbf).

Applications of Motorised Force Testers
Motorised force testers can be used for tensile, compression, flexural, shear and peel testing. Motorised test stands can have a larger work area making them ideal for production environments or applications with larger test samples. Crosshead speed movement is user-selectable. Mechanical and digital load limits can be used to control crosshead movement, e.g. stop the crosshead when a load limit is achieved.

Applications of Pneumatic Force Testers 
Pneumatically-operated force testers utilize clean, dry compressed air and are ideally suited for use in hazardous areas where no electricity is permitted for fear of explosion. Pneumatic testers can perform both tensile and compressive tests with variable ram speed. Typical applications include measuring break strength of electrical leads, terminals, connectors, wire wraps, etc.

Features of Digital Force Testers
Digital force testers are advanced force testing systems optimized for production, quality control and engineering applications, which can be used for tensile, compression, shear, friction, flexural and complex spring testing. They can feature a rugged frame with high performance, closed-loop motion control and an intelligent load sensing system with measuring accuracies better than 0.1% full scale. Typically digital force testers are available with force capacities up to 5 kN (1124 lbf). Self-contained systems require no external computer and no additional control software for operation. Standard test setups for load limits, distance limits, time limits, break tests, rupture tests, cycling and loop tests can be included. 

Material Testers
Material testing machines guarantee the highest level of performance and capability for production testing, quality control, laboratory testing, research and education, with force capacities ranging from 1 kN (225 lbf) to 300 kN (67443 lbf). Material testing machines can test for tensile strength, compression, flexure, friction, tear, peel, adhesion, shear, ductility, insertion, shear strength and many other parameters. They are used to determine the physical and mechanical properties of raw materials and components, and are ideal for product testing of finished goods such as plastics, packaging, medical devices, electronic components, textiles, metals, composites, paper and more.