Basic research laboratories typically perform a variety of material tests and obtain the associated data to model material behavior phenomena and develop life prediction methodologies. In this research environment, a mechanical test automation system must meet challenges that are not always present in an industrial testing setting. For example, real-time crack closure load analyses, at the present time, are not widely performed in industrial crack propagation testing. In the research environment, however, on-line crack closure studies are used to make decisions in real-time about changes in test conditions.
A previous paper described the overall system strategy and hardware and one of the crack propagation software modules from the fourth generation of the material analysis and testing environment (MATE) automation system. The present paper discusses selected methodologies that the current (fifth) generation of the MATE system uses to meet the challenges posed while automating research style mechanical tests. The methodologies addressed in this paper include waveform generation and synchronization for cyclic, monotonic, and thermomechanical (TMF) testing as well as specimen damage computation for self-similar cracked geometries.