The Reinhold Hermann creep laboratory at The Open University has recently been expanded and upgraded to provide a dedicated facility in support of our nuclear materials research programmes. It houses some 16 constant load frames, an Instron 100 kN slow strain rate machine and a Zwick 250 kN multi-purpose machine. Tests can be conducted in various atmospheres (air, inert gas or vacuum) at temperatures up to 1000°C.

Creep frames
All the creep frames have integral three zone vertical tube furnaces, with temperature control to ±1°C of set temperature. We also have a three-zone split furnace with a window to allow measurement of strain by optical devices for example digital image correlation. This allows high positional resolution of measured strain in materials having positional variation in microstructure.

Real-time Data
Data (cumulative time, displacement, strain and thermocouple temperatures) can be viewed in real time using in-house developed software to dedicated instrument PC. The software offers flexibility in data monitoring frequency.