When engineers decided to wrap the Zénith arena in Strasbourg, France, in a record breaking 15 000 m2 of material, they had to be sure it was not going to break under the huge amount of tension required to hold it in place.
UK company P-D Interglas supplied the material for the job - ATEX, a woven glass-fiber fabric that is coated in silicone. To test the material, the company used a Zwick Z050 tensile testing machine
Tests carried out on the material included tensile strength, creased tensile strength, weld strength and surface peel. The tensile strength test showed that a test strip of the material could withstand loads of up to 8 kN / 50 mm with the joins withstanding up to 7 kN / 50 mm, proving that the material was well within the specifications required by the architect.
The Zwick Z050 can test tensile strength up to 50kN (11,000 lbs), and can be used to test sensitive materials such as tissue paper as well as high-performance fabrics and composite laminates. It features Zwick's testXpert software, which is easy to use and modular in design. Intelligent assistants help the customer to set up or change test procedures and it is compatible with all commercially available PCs and laptops without the need for an additional connection card. It adopts industry-specific terminology and can easily export data to a company's central laboratory database. The software also enables frame synchronization of video recordings and features a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). This is a powerful database that can be used to administer test results spanning a number of test series. Its graphical sequence editor enables the customer to design customized test procedures by combining test events, parameters and results. It analyzes the test procedure and can filter out errors in the early stages without destroying a single specimen.
"The Zwick Z050 machine with its pneumatic jaws gives consistent and reliable results not previously achieved," says George Illing, ATEX business manager at
P-D Interglas. "When we started to tensile test a new range of architectural fabrics which had a high strength substrate and high performance surface, we experienced premature failing of the product in the conventional grips. On advice from Zwick we purchased a new set of roller (capstan) grips and now achieve very consistent results which match our target theoretical values."