The short version of a very long story is that I am sponsoring a group of students in a project that aims to determine the effect of the size and shape of (dumb bell / dog bone) shaped specimens on the ultimate tensile properties of highly extensible silicone elastomers.
I have no budget for this - I can spend about $300 AU of my own money on this - that’s it.
The only suitable and available tensile testing machine was made in 1987 and has an RS232 interface that probably only controls the machine motor and limited if any way to digitise load/displacement values.
While load cells are inexpensive and its almost trivial to to get the load/time data through an Arduino onto a pc, the elongation should ideally be obtained using non-contact means (video or laser) to get the true elongation of the specimen rather than the separation of the clamps (“jaws”) holding the specimen, which can produce quite different results.
My old workplace had a laser extensometer and I witnessed one lab using a video extensometer, but the cost of commercially available laser or video extensometers is eye watering, and building one is well beyond my DIY Arduino project expertise.
The working principle of such devices is that laser or video is used to measure the gradually changing separation of two markers on the specimen under test until it breaks. The stress vs strain curve should preferably be produced in real time, as this can reveal problems before the sample breaks, but if too hard and expensive then plotting acquired correlated values in a spreadsheet or the like would be acceptable.
Does any one have any ideas, links or other information on a DIY - (preferably Arduino based) laser or video extensometer that they can share with me?
I’ve searched the Internet and YouTube, etc. and I am aware of Arduino based range finders that measure distances between an object and the sensor but that’s not really what I need.