The past weeks I have worked almost full time in the lab trying to make the equipment ready for low cycle fatigue testing. We have a new videoextensometer! It is a camera used for studying the sample and register the resulting strain during testing. The camera registers the distance between two white markers of aluminum oxide. These markers are sprayed on the sample using a gun and a mask and the resulting beautiful pattern can be seen to the right in the picture viewed below. Between the markers one can see the thermocouple that is used to measure the temperature of the sample, tied to the sample with a ceramic thread.
The research concerning the markers have proven to be a great step forward. In our low cycle fatigue testing procedure the sample will be strained and compressed for a constant temperature of 800 degrees celsius in the three gaseous environments air, argon and diesel. This means that the markers of aluminum oxide must be able to resist mechanical forces, high temperatures and the presence of gases. We have done several tests to verify the survival of our new markers. Soon my college, Shengmei Xiang, will join the team after her stay in China.