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.
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.
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.