SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1990

A PC-Based Data Acquisition System for Composite Material Fracture Testing


Automated data acquisition is a necessity for characterizing composite materials due to the nonlinearities associated with matrix-dominated properties and measurement of multiple strains. A low-cost data acquisition system based on a Zenith 286 PC-compatible computer has been developed for characterizing the mechanical response of composite materials subjected to a variety of loading arrangements. The system utilizes a Data Translation DT2821 card that provides 16 channels of analog-to-digital conversion. An inexpensive, low-noise strain gage conditioner and amplifier was built to provide ten conditioned DC output channels for strain gage measurements. A menu-driven software package, written in the C programming language, runs the system and creates an easy-to-use operator interface. The software allows the user to access standard test configurations, standard or customized data reduction routines, and port data to an Apple Macintosh. The results of an investigation measuring the resolution and accuracy of the system are reported. Data acquisition examples are presented for testing composite I-beams in three-point bending, composite cylinders under uniaxial compressive loads, and composite tubes under biaxial loading.

Author Information

Colvin, GE
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
Swanson, SR
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
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Developed by Committee: E08
Pages: 21–37
DOI: 10.1520/STP25028S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5149-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1401-2