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Compression test

What is a compression test?

  • Compression tests are performed to characterize the behavior of a material under compressive loading.
  • During the test, pressure is applied to a specimen using compression platens, through which various properties of the material are determined.
  • The test data delivers results in the form of a stress-strain diagram that displays among other things, the elastic limit, the proportionality limit, the yield point and, in some cases, the compressive strength.

What is the purpose of a compression test?

Compression tests examine the safety, durability, and integrity of materials and components.Common applications include plastics, ceramics, fiber-reinforced composites, and metals. These types of tests are often performed on components and finished products such as foam, tubes, water bottles, mattresses, automotive parts, cardboard, medical implants, and more.

Which standards are used when performing compression tests?

All of the most common ISO and ASTM standards for compression tests are listed below:

  • ASTM D3574-17:Standard Compression Test Methods for Flexible Cellular Materials — Slab, Bonded, and Molded Urethane Foams
  • ASTM D695-15:
  • ASTM D3846-08 (2015):In-Plane Shear Strength of Reinforced Plastics
  • ASTM D575-91 (2018):Compression Test on Rubber:Method A Rubber Properties in Compression
  • ASTM F1306-21:Standard Test Method for Slow Rate Penetration Resistance of Flexible Barrier Films and Laminates
  • ISO 7886-1:2017:Sterile hypodermic syringes for single use — Part 1: Syringes for manual use
  • ISO 844:2014:Rigid cellular plastics — Determination of the compression properties

There are other company-specific standards for compression testing such as Boeing BSS 7260c and Airbus AITM 1-0010 issue 3 that are also commonly used for compression testing in the aerospace industry.

Examples for compression test applications by material

Indentation hardness

Among others, DIN 53579-1, ISO 2439, ASTM D3574
Indentation hardness of molded foams such as vehicle cushions, mattresses, etc. to DIN 53579-1, and in materials testing to ISO 2439, ASTM D 574.
to Indentation hardness

Compression tests on hard foam

ISO 844, ASTM D1621, EN 826
Compressive strength, maximum compressive deformation, compression modulus describe the short-term deformation behavior under load.
to Compression tests on hard foam

Compression test and notched compression test (OHC, FHC)

on composites comprised of different fiber matrix systems
to Compression test and notched compression test (OHC, FHC)

In-plane shear (IPS)

can be produced and measured by performing a tensile or compression test at ±45° to the fiber direction.
to In-plane shear (IPS)

Puncture Resistance

EN 14477, ASTM F1306
Puncture resistance is important when films are used as packaging material, for example, for food or parts with sharp edges. It is described in the following standards: EN 14477, ASTM F1306.
to Puncture Resistance

Plunger glide force

ISO 7886-1; USP-Chapter <1382> and <382>
The ZwickRoell testing software is used to record and evaluate plunger travel, breakaway force and the maximum and mean glide force. ISO 7886-1 is referenced in USP (United States Pharmacopeia) Chapter <1382> and <382>.
to Plunger glide force

Ready to take a look at ZwickRoell compression testing machines?

  • A universal testing machine (UTM) equipped with a compression test tool is used to perform the test. The test tools must fit the specific test criteria of the application and take the specimen’s dimensions and expected maximum test forces into consideration.
  • Lighter compression platens are used for compression tests up to a maximum load of 20 kN and heavier compression platens are best suited for tests up to 250 kN.ZwickRoell offers various types of compression platens, including round and square platens, as well as scored and smooth platens.

Compression Testing Machines

Test tools for compression tests

Compression tests are used to determine material behavior under uniformly increasing compressive loading.The compression specimen is compressed until break, until crack, or up to a specified compression value.

The compression tools used are in direct contact with the materials to be tested. Therefore, they have to be precisely aligned and adapted to the respective applications and requirements.A wide variety of tools are available for all types of tests. These compression tools can be customized to the specific application according to the respective requirements.

View our test tools for compression tests