SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1990

Automation Software for a Materials Testing Laboratory


An overview of the software environment in use at the NASA-Lewis Research Center's High Temperature Fatigue and Structures Laboratory is presented. This environment is composed of varying interrelated software systems, of both a NASA-designed and a commercially available nature, all of which operate on a local, distributed, mini- and microcomputer system. The software environment is designed to support the tasks involved in performing materials behavior research, principally: defining and executing materials tests, analyzing the results of these experiments, and reporting the results. The approach taken in this application was to create a method of specifying a materials test that is independent of the terminologies and conventions of the intended applications. This approach results in a useful tool for performing a wide variety of tests. The features and capabilities of this approach to specifying a materials test include: static and dynamic control mode switching, enabling multimode test control; dynamic alteration of the control waveform based upon events occurring in the response variables; precise control over the nature of both command waveform generation and data acquisition (as it relates to the command waveform), including dynamically variable waveform types, data acquisition channel sets and sampling rates; and, the nesting of waveform/ data acquisition strategies so that material history dependencies may be explored. For all practical purposes, differing waveform and data acquisition strategies may be concatenated and nested indefinitely to provide extensive control over materials test control histories. Experimental capabilities currently supported in an automated fashion include both isothermal and thermomechanical fatigue and deformation testing capabilities. A secondary goal was to introduce efficiencies into the conventional research process by eliminating tedious and repetitive tasks, that is, to increase the amount of time the researcher spends on research. The latter goal was achieved through the establishment of a communications network software system that provides (among other things) file interchange and remote console capabilities, and through the introduction of a data analysis and archiving system.

Author Information

McGaw, MA
NASA-Lewis Research Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Cleveland, OH
Bonacuse, PJ
NASA-Lewis Research Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Cleveland, OH
Price: $25.00
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Developed by Committee: E08
Pages: 211–231
DOI: 10.1520/STP25040S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5149-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1401-2