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Penetration - Capability Statements

Cone penetration of food or cosmetics

Spreadability texture analysis of cosmetics or food by cone penetration

The mechanical properties of food and most cosmetics are more readily termed texture (also mouthfeel in the case of foodstuffs). The way these products are acted upon by forces determines the exact texture attribute, such as firmness, stickiness (adhesiveness) and spreadability. As such these items may be mechanically tested and the results used to quantifiably compare the effect of relevant production and manufacturing factors - for food: cooking time, relative mix of ingredients – on the consumer’s sensory perception of texture. The engineering concept of penetration resistance has direct correlation to the texture attribute of spreadability and the use of a cone-shaped penetration probe for a force test will allow repeatable and accurate texture analysis of a product judged by this quality. The matching container fixture for the sample is influential in the results as its degree of resistance to allowing the product to spread freely, but enables consistent comparative testing. Typically this fixture is shaped as an internal cone corresponding to the same dimensions (90 degree vertex angle) as the probe.

Mecmesin Systems: MultiTest force test systems, compression fixtures

Case Study: Margarine Spreadability

Hypodermic needle sharpness test

Hypodermic needle sharpness testing

Hypodermic needles can require comparative sharpness testing using synthetic skin, or for the purposes of syringe filling, penetration of closure elastomers such as silicone or neoprene. To do so conveniently, a membrane of uniform thickness elastomer, held under constant tension, can be repositioned for repeat penetration.

For a number of clients, Mecmesin has designed and manufactured custom fixtures for holding hypodermic needle assemblies, and for stretching elastomer sheeting over an aperture for penetration testing. Sharpness is not an absolute value, but the force required to penetrate a vial closure must be consistent, and different point bevels will yield different values. Importantly, during the test, the needle must not flex and the angle of presentation be precise.

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