Friday, December 9, 2011

Testing (Serena's) Strength

In the Material Performance Laboratory, I had the opportunity to use the Tensile Tester.  Most of the time, I just call it the "Instron."

You basically put a material in the machine, and push or pull until it breaks.  It's actually pretty cool. 

One day, we were having problems with the material breaking in the wrong spot.  So the research committee decided that we need to turn the bolts to 200 ft-lbs.  One day, the graduate student was out and asked me to change the sample.  Think about it: If your lever arm is 1ft long, then you need 200 lbs of force to turn it to the correct amount.  The graduate student lifted weights and played football as a linebacker in high school.  I, on the other hand, ride my bike around Davis and occasionally prance around during my ballet class. What did I do?

To un-do the bolts, I would hang on the torque wrench until I got the torque wrench to read 200 ft-lbs.  I don't advise this for anyone.  This is one time I've felt like a complete girl.  However, it made for a funny story afterward. :-D

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