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Construction - Capability Statements

Soil shear force testing

Measuring shear strength of loose building materials

The shear strength of soils and sands can be an expensive thing to test, since the shear force applied is perpendicular to the main compressive force, and universal testers operate in one direction. Our East European client required an affordable solution for more occasional testing.

Mecmesin designed a compression cell attached to an AFTI digital force indicator, that could be inserted into a Mecmesin twin column test stand to apply the shear force. This provided an accurate and cost-effective solution.

 
Plasterboard penetration testing

Repetitive plasterboard penetration testing

British Gypsum carry out repetitive penetration tests to accurately assess the performance and durability of their products. The test, into the edge of plasterboard samples, is repeated sequentially along the board at fixed positions.

Mecmesin supplied a custom automated system, capable of up to 50 sequential edge penetrations per board test sample. The pre-programmed system provides complete consistency and control in penetration separation (indexing), penetration depth, and penetration force, capturing detailed data for full analysis.

Geotextile strength testing ensures in-service performance quality

Geotextile in-service performance testing

Geotextiles undergo a range of forces in their intended applications and determination of their suitability for in-service conditions involves a number of test types. The variety of materials utilised—both synthetic polymer and natural—and method and construction—woven, knitted or non-woven—means that quality testing requires consideration of the sample gripping, manner of deformation and loading capacity. Mecmesin has a range of force testing systems from mid-capacity single column configurations up to 50 kN twin column UTMs. A geotextile fabric may undergo forces which could stretch, tear, puncture or penetrate the membrane and an appropriate replication of the relevant loading is essential to quantify the performance of the textile in its environment. Typical international standards targeting these test types include: ASTM D4533, trapezoid tearing strength of geotextiles; ASTM D6241, static puncture strength of geotextiles and geotextile-related products; ASTM D4632, grab breaking load and elongation of geotextiles.

 
CD006 Punch being pushed into board 220

Plasterboard penetration resistance testing

Construction materials may take a wide variety of shapes and sizes, as well as being fabricated from an assortment of materials. The performance of these structural products in service is important and plasterboard’s composite layering of paper and gypsum allows modification to its structure to provide desirable qualities in use, for example noise insulation. Penetration resistance testing is important in these lightweight materials to ensure durability – the maximum force required to reach a specific penetration depth. A large sample may require testing at specific intervals along its length to evaluate the consistency of the construction and the associated data: penetration separation (indexing), penetration depth and penetration force analysed accordingly. A custom fixture and a bespoke automated system to enable complete control of the process will facilitate this type of quality testing on these bulky panels.

Mecmesin Systems: Automated test systems

Case Study: Plasterboard penetration testing

 

Shotcrete penetrometer conctrete strength measurement

Shotcrete and young sprayed concrete compressive strength calculation

Verification of consistency is vital in the initial stages of the concrete curing process in order to ensure maximum compressive strength. The measurement of compressive strength development over time provides verification against the J1, J2 and J3 classes of sprayed concrete. During the early phases, two test methods are applicable, with multiple needle penetration tests being used in the initial stage (typically the first 3 hours or so after spray application) where the calculated strength falls below 1.5 MPa. The method consists of several iterations of ten resistive penetration force readings (to 15 mm depth) taken in rapid succession – under 1 minute – which are averaged to obtain one value in Newton. Typically 5 or 6 iterations would be performed within the initial time frame. A conversion curve (or formula) is then used to find the equivalent compressive strength value in MPa. The curve itself depends upon the mix design, influenced by the size of aggregate, for example. The results are then plotted on a time against compressive strength graph.  The standard defines the specific dimensions of the penetration needle as 3mm diameter with a 60 degree taper angle. A digital penetrometer, with handles, oriented display and the ability to store peak force readings provide a convenient, robust and portable solution for use on-site.

Mecmesin Systems: Shotcrete Penetrometer

Standards: BS EN 14488-2, ISO 14488

 

Standards: BS EN 14488-2, ISO 14488-2

CD016 safety net bollard grip 220 Construction safety netting tensile strength testing

Product safety in the construction industry is critical and test standards are in place to ensure that the protection of workers is maintained. Safety nets, specifically, are used for arresting falls from scaffold systems and also for protection from falling debris. A supplier of these products must adhere to strict quality processes as the nets are returned, repaired and tested for tensile strength, against the manufacturer’s criteria for withdrawal, and industry standards. Age, wear and tear, and UV degradation all contribute to the reduction in the strength of nets over time. The use of bollard grips, designed for the retention of samples of the nature of rope, cord, string, fibre, yarn, thread or tape, provides secure clamping of the individual net cell whilst minimising the risk of “jaw break”. Performing these tests at an in-house facility means that nets are set aside for assessment for the least time, those nearing minimal compliance can be monitored, and all those meeting standards have an immediate certification. Additionally, test control software provides consistent speed, force and displacement, acquires detailed data for analysis, and shows an instant pass/fail indication.

Mecmesin Systems: MultiTest motorised test system, large circular bollard grips, Emperor™ (Force)

Case Study: Construction safety netting certification testing

CD017 Marine al frame in grips 220Marine vessel aluminium frame fastener shear and pull-out strength

The marine industrial construction and engineering sector requires stringent testing of the integrity of the fastening systems employed in sea-going vessels. The materials utilised may also be particularly specialised and light weight, thus needing rigorous evaluation to ensure confidence in the strength of the assembly. A bolted aluminium structural element may be tested to accurately simulate its loading in the complex operational environment in order to measure the critical strength of the entire bolted assembly. The weakest element could be the fastener itself, suffering shear failure, or pull-out, or the hole in which the bolt is located could undergo deformation due to the tensile forces and compromise the structure. This testing is thus able to evaluate the lap joint’s performance and provide objective data as to the quality of the batch of supplied fastenings or any modifications to the frame’s cross-section, design or material specifications. Typical shear forces up to 10 kN are able to be handled with appropriately rated wedge grips and a suitably cut-down sample.

Mecmesin Systems: MultiTest motorised test system, 10 kN wedge grip

 

CD 018 Weld pulled-off trimmed 220Sheet metal welded fastening pull-off failure

The fabricator or supplier of sheet metal products for the construction industry must ensure that the material is able to withstand the forces that may be encountered in all downstream processes in which the raw components may be used. The integrity of fastening systems used in complete assemblies or joints will be influenced by the basic material properties and the characteristics of any coating, such as a non-corrosive treatment. The testing to failure of welds to ensure they remain sound and crack-free in service provides vital feedback into the manufacturing process and allows the confident specification of welding parameters for safe usage of the raw steel. The use of a computer-controlled testing system to record the peak force incurred before pull-off failure enables quality compliance to internal or international test standards.

Mecmesin Systems: MultiTest motorised test system