Gleeble® 3500 System
Defining a New Era in Physical Simulation and Thermal-Mechanical Testing
With the introduction of the Gleeble 3500, Dynamic Systems Inc. has once again raised the standard by which all thermal-mechanical testing machines and physical simulation systems are judged.The Gleeble 3500 is a fully integrated digital closed loop control thermal and mechanical testing system. Easy-to-use Windows based computer software, combined with an array of powerful processors, provides an extremely user-friendly interface to create, run and analyze data from thermal-mechanical tests and physical simulation programs.
The Gleeble 3500 Thermal System
The direct resistance heating system of the Gleeble 3500 can heat specimens at rates of up to 10,000°C/second, or can hold steady-state equilibrium temperatures. High thermal conductivity grips hold the specimen, making the Gleeble 3500 capable of high cooling rates. An optional quench system can achieve cooling rates in excess of 10,000°C/second at the specimen surface.
Thermocouples or an optional infrared pyrometer provide signals for accurate feedback control of specimen temperatures. Because of the unique high speed heating method, Gleeble systems typically can run thermal tests 3 to 10 times faster than conventional furnace equipped machines.
The Gleeble 3500 mechanical system is a complete, fully integrated hydraulic servo system capable of exerting as much as 10 tons of static force in tension or compression. Displacement rates as fast as 1000 mm/second can be achieved. LVDT transducers, load cells, or non-contact laser extensometry provide feedback to insure accurate execution and repeatability of the mechanical test program.
The mechanical system allows the operator to program changes from one control mode to another during any given test. This capability provides the versatility that is necessary to simulate many thermal-mechanical processes. The program can switch between control variables at any time and as often as required during the test. Control modes that are available include stroke displacement, force, various extensometers, true stress, true strain, engineering stress, and engineering strain.
The Gleeble 3500 Digital Control System
The heart of the Gleeble 3500 is the Series 3 Digital Control System. It provides all the signals necessary to control thermal and mechanical test variables simultaneously through the digital closed-loop thermal and mechanical servo systems. The Gleeble 3500 can be operated totally by computer, totally by manual control, or by any combination of computer and manual control needed to provide maximum versatility in materials testing.
The environment for computer control of the Gleeble 3500 consists of a Windows based workstation and powerful embedded processor in the control console. The Windows workstation offers a flexible industry-standard multi-tasking Graphical User Interface for creating simulation programs and analyzing the resulting data, as well as creating reports and presentations.
The embedded processor executes test and simulation programs and collects data under the control of the Windows program. This division of labor offers the full power of the workstation to the user while tests are running, enabling the operator to create new tests and analyze data while the machine is actively executing tests or physical simulations.
The Gleeble 3500 has a full set of software tools available. The operator can create tests on the workstation through a number of programming options, including QuikSim Software, a spreadsheet-like, fill-in-the-blanks software that describes each action in a test sequence in order and duration. QuikSim allows arbitrary programming of waveforms for both thermal and mechanical systems. Other options for creating more elaborate tests include Deformation Control Software and Gleeble Script Language.
In designing the operator interface for the Gleeble 3500, DSI engineers recognized that highly flexible control is essential for machine performance. Thus every aspect of the 3500 control system can be controlled via computer and set up in advance in the program. To make the system even more flexible and allow easy, convenient manual control of the system at any time, the Gleeble 3500 includes a freestanding control console with 10 Virtual Panel Meters (VPMs). Each of these VPMs includes a control knob and data readout and can be software configured to control whatever part of the system the operator requires. As a result, the operator has total flexibility in manual control of the system, yet sacrifices none of the power and convenience of computer control when that is a better option. Prewritten test programs can be run with no modifications or, if desired, the VPMs can be used to adjust the program while the test is in progress.
Once a test or simulation has been completed, the results are automatically loaded into Origin software, a powerful and flexible data analysis package included with every Gleeble 3500 System. Origin provides many built-in mathematical functions for analyzing data as well as the LabTalk language which can be used to automate the repetitive analyses tasks typical of a comprehensive simulation or testing program. Origin can be set up to load data from each test and immediately display any number of plots, allowing a quick and easy review of each test. Origin produces colorful, publication-quality graphs and charts.