Load Frames: Build the Optimal System for Your Application

Load Frames: Build the Optimal System for Your Applications

Load Frames

The heart of any system is the Load Frame itself. The Gilson series of Load Frames and the Marshall Stability Load Frames have proven reliability, accuracy and a decades-long reputation for getting the job done. A total load capacity of 10,000lbf (44.5kN) is suitable for most testing and there are options for total capacity of 20,000lbf (89kN). Frame openings are quickly adjustable up to 11.9x37.3in 302x947mm) WxH to accommodate the widest variety of specimen sizes and fixture configurations. Strain rates of the different units range from 0.0001in (0.00254mm) per minute to 2.0in (50.8mm) per minute.

Single Purpose vs Multipurpose Loading System

Modern construction material testing labs routinely test a wide variety of material and specimen types. Dedicated, single-purpose load frames designed for one or two tests just do not offer the versatility needed to keep up with a steady flow of incoming geotechnical, hot-mix asphalt, grout and cement samples. A multipurpose loading system built around an adaptable load frame is practical, efficient and economical. Using separate components and modular kits increases flexibility of these systems and allows easy, economical upgrades. Basic speed and capacity requirements don’t often change for a given test, and that makes it easy to upgrade an analog system to digital without the need to invest in a whole new system.

Analog or Digital Component Sets

Using modular sets configured for individual test applications allows the greatest flexibility in your system. You can equip your system for only the applications you need, and further customize it by selecting either analog or digital components. Analog components work very well for limited testing, but digital equipment really streamlines efficiency when the schedule is tight, and also gives you some options for data collection, reporting and storing. Either way, the sets will include components to measure and display load and travel values, along with other components required for specific tests such as swivel platens or penetration pistons.

Gilson offers Load Frames, Analog or Digital Kits and separate components for these applications:

  • Soils Unconfined Compression
  • California Bearing Ratio (CBR)
  • Limerock Bearing Ratio (LBR)
  • Soil Cement Unconfined Compression
  • Soils Triaxial testing in Unconsolidated/Undrained, Consolidated/Undrained, and Consolidated/Drained conditions
  • Asphalt Marshall Load and Flow
  • Indirect Tensile Tests (Lottman)
  • Tack Bond Shear
  • Semi-Circular Bend (SCB)

Most sets have some components in common, and individual components are also available separately for custom applications. Loads are measured using quality aluminum alloy Load Rings with included dial indicators or sensitive electronic S-type Load Cells with capacities from 500lbf to 20,000lbf. Displacement values are determined using Linear Variable Displacement Transducers when precise measurements are required. These transducers can be paired with Digital Dial Indicators or Digital Display Readout Boxes for display and data collection of measured values. Simpler analog Mechanical Dial Indicators perform the same displacement functions when manual observation and notation of data is not a problem. Digital Readouts in two or four channel versions display input data from load and displacement indicators in real-time and export to ASCII spreadsheets on Windows® based PC’s.

So there you have it; for your laboratory loading needs, component sets are the way to go. Starting with a quality Load Frame sized for your applications and choosing the right components, you can have a system that is long-lasting, economical and up-gradable. Remember to contact Gilson’s Technical Support staff if you have questions or need advice.