Machine Design

Mechanical System Cited for Historical Significance

A mechanical system used at Southwest Research Institute to gauge the performance of various materials under force and impact will be cited for historical significance at a ceremony on December 1, 2006, in San Antonio.

Julie Kalista
Online Editor

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) will name the Split-Hopkinson Pressure Bar Apparatus a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, a status accorded mechanical systems and devices that contribute to the progress of mechanical engineering technology.

Developed at the Southwest Research Institute in 1962, the Split-Hopkinson Pressure Bar Apparatus helps test the dynamic strength of materials ranging from metal and steel to today's advanced polymers and ceramics. In one instance, NASA used it to evaluate the capability of the pressurized hulls of the U.S. Space Station to withstand the impact of meteorites and other flying orbital debris. The instrument works using compressed gas to launch a test-striker and records the data electronically.

More Information
American Society of Mechanical Engineers

This web-only article appeared in the November issue of the Mechanical Monthly e-mail newsletter. If you enjoyed this article and would like to read similar articles sign up today for our free e-mail newsletters!

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.