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To determine the ultimate stress to which the specimen (concrete cube) withstand.


(i) Universal Testing Machine (UTM)

(ii) Concrete cube
(iii) Scale


A Compression test can be performed on UTM by keeping the test piece on base block
and moving down the central grip to apply load. The UTM is hydraulically operated and runs on
420 volts, 3 phase, 50 HZ AC supply and has four load measuring ranges. For compressive test
the machine is operated in 0-40 tonnes range.


Several machines and structural components such as columns and studs are subjected to
compressive loads in applications. These components are made of high compressive strength
materials. All the materials are not strong in compression. Several materials which are good in
tension are poor in compression. Contrary to this many materials are poor in tension but very
strong in compression. Cast iron is one such example. Hence determination of ultimate
compressive strength is essential before using a material. This strength is determined by
conducting a compression test. Compression test is just opposite in nature to a tensile test. Nature
of deformation an fracture is quite different from that in the tensile tests. Compressive loads tend
to squeeze the specimen. Brittle materials are generally weak in tension but strong in
compression. Hence this test is normally performed on cast iron, cement concrete etc which are
brittle materials. But ductile materials like aluminum and mild steel which are strong in tension,
are also tested in compression. From compression test we can

Draw Stress Strain curve in compression

Determine Youngs Modulus in compression.
Determine ultimate compressive strength.
Determine percentage reduction in length.

However, during this experiment only ultimate compressive strength needs to be

Ultimate load
Ultimate stress = ------------------------------- (N/mm2)
Area of the specimen


1. Fix upper and lower pressure plate on the lower cross head and lower table respectively.
2. Place the specimen on the lower compression plate .the specimen should aligned exactly.
According to the marking on the compression plate in order to give the complete cross section of
the specimen a chance to participate equally in the acceptance load.
3. Then adjust the zero by lifting the lower table.
4. Operate the upper cross head to grip the upper end of the test piece.
5. The left valve in the UTM is kept in fully closed position and the right valve in the normal
open position.
6. Open the right valve and close it after lower table is slightly lifted.
7. Adjust the load to zero by using the push button.
8. Operate the lower grip operation handle lift the lower cross head up and grip fully the lower
part of the specimen then lock the specimen in this position by operation jaw locking handle.
9. Turn the right control valve slowly to open the position until (anticlockwise) we get a assumed
loading mass.
10. After that we will find that the specimen is under load and the under the locking handle.


The specimen should be fixed firmly in the vice on the UTM

The reading for stress and strain should be taken simultaneously, during the test
The dial indicator should be fixed firmly on the UTM and the indicator needle should be
set to zero before starting the experiment.


Size of the Cube (a) = mm

Area of the Cube (A) = mm2

S.No SPECIMEN Cross section Ultimate Load Ultimate

Area (mm) Stress


Thus the ultimate stress that the concrete cube can withstand = _______N/mm2.


Differentiate between compressive strength and tensile strength.

Describe the failure mechanism of a material under compressive loading.
Theoretically compressive strength should be same as the tensile strength, but practically
it is not so. Why?
What is anisotropy? How does it affect the mechanical properties?
Compression tests are usually performed on brittle materials. Why?
Which will have a higher strength: a small specimen or a full size member made of the
same material?
How do ductile and brittle materials differ in their behavior in the compression test?
They differ in the fracture mode, in bulging action, and malleability.

What are bi-modulus materials? Give examples those materials which give value of E
different in tension and compression are called bi -modulus materials.