SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 2000

The History and Importance of Impact Testing


Charpy impact testing is a low-cost and reliable test method which is commonly required by the construction codes for fracture-critical structures such as bridges and pressure vessels. Yet, it took from about 1900 to 1960 for impact-test technology and procedures to reach levels of accuracy and reproducibility such that the procedures could be broadly applied as standard test methods. This paper recounts the early history of the impact test and reports some of the improvements in the procedures (standard specimen shape, introduction of a notch, correlation to structural performance in service, and introduction of shrouds) that led to this broad acceptance.

Author Information

Siewert, TA
National Institute of Standards and Technology, Boulder, CO
Manahan, MP
MPM Technologies, Inc., State College, PA
McCowan, CN
NIST, Boulder, CO
Holt, JM
Alpha Consultants & Engineers, Pittsburgh, PA
Marsh, FJ
Bethlehem Steel, San Marcos, CA
Ruth, EA
Tinius Olsen Test Machine Co., Willow Grove, PA
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Developed by Committee: E28
Pages: 3–16
DOI: 10.1520/STP14384S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5429-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2864-4