Capturing the State of the Art - Why experimental mechanics is becoming ever more accessible.
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‘Experimental mechanics’ can be defined as the investigation by experimental means of the mechanical behaviour of engineering systems subjected to load. The system can be a structure, a material, soft matter such as human tissue or a fluid structure coupling – the list is practically endless.
Implicit in the definition is that some kind of measurement system is used to capture a quantity that describes the system’s behaviour. The main attributes conventionally associated with experimental mechanics are the deformation and the mechanical strain. These can then be related to a failure parameter by deriving the stresses from the strains by knowing the material constitutive relationships.
Experimental mechanics approaches that provide a measure related to the strain are therefore very important design tools. Many of these techniques have been available for decades, but recently have been gaining popularity because of the advances in computing power and decreasing hardware costs.
More importantly, from the design perspective, the necessity for experimental data to validate numerical models of systems manufactured from complex nonlinear inhomogeneous materials, such as fibre reinforced polymer composites, is ever increasing. Experimental mechanics approaches have much to offer and it is the purpose of this booklet to provide an overview of the range of application and operation of the techniques.
This booklet has been produced by the British Society for Strain Measurement (BSSM), supported by its members through expert contributions. The thrust is to capture the State of the Art in the field of experimental mechanics within an accessible guide targeted at the non-expert.
A primary role of the BSSM is to educate and disseminate leading edge advances in experimental mechanics. The partnership with Eureka has provided a much greater reach, with the target to attract a new generation of engineers and scientists to the field of experimental mechanics, as well as to update and inform more experienced practitioners of what is currently available. The funding for this booklet has been provided by sponsorship, mostly from BSSM Corporate members, and the BSSM is grateful for their ongoing support in ventures such as these.
The booklet is split into two sections. The first section concentrates on the techniques – ranging from single point sensors to full-field optical techniques. Each contribution contains a concise overview of a technique, followed by a short case study. The BSSM is grateful to the authors of each section for taking the time to prepare the excellent and easy to read articles. The second section is the sponsors’ section, where companies provide information on their products, range of use and exemplar case studies that demonstrate the capabilities of their equipment.
We hope that this booklet will convey readers on a journey of exploration through the range of modern experimental stress and strain measurement techniques currently available. We hope that the guide is useful in finding solutions to existing problems or in providing the inspiration to pursue new avenues of investigation.
Dr James Eaton-Evans, University of Oxford
Professor Janice Dulieu-Barton, University of Southampton
Dr Richard Burguete, Airbus