Use Charpy Impact Testing to Retain the Structural Integrity of Your Products

by | Mar 19, 2013 | Business

Imagine that your design has been finalized and you have selected material and fabricated the prototypes of a certain product. That product will likely be subjected to wear-and-tear in the form of collisions, grinding or scraping. In order to ensure that it is of the highest quality and will withstand everyday abuse, you need to test the piece beforehand. How do you measure the impact of everyday use on your product?

Like a piece of wire that is manipulated too many times, many raw materials, especially metals, will change composition and become structurally weak when processed into a finished product. The act of production, be it melting, forging, bending or other forms of manipulation, can affect the structure of a material, making it weak or brittle. Thus, an item produced from a material possessing highly rated structural qualities may actually not retain those qualities after production.

Impact testing was designed to prevent this problem from occurring after production. Before circulating a new product, a test is necessary to determine the likelihood of a raw material to fracture under various levels of pressure and strain. The Charpy impact test is one such test. It is intended to measure the ability of a material to withstand a fracture when subjected to a direct, intense impact.

During World War II, victory ships composed of low-carbon steel fractured and broke in half while sitting in the harbor at anchor. This took place because the ships were composed of a material that was unable to absorb energy below a certain temperature, an issue that was unforeseen during production. As a result, Charpy impact test was implemented, and it was determined that the rigidity of the hulls, in conjunction with freezing ocean water temperatures, caused the fractures. As a result, later models of the victory ships were re-designed to flex slightly in order to address this flaw.

You don’t have to be designing a U-boat or military equipment in order to require testing of your product. Any product should be tested before being introduced to the public in order to ensure quality and reliability. The Charpy impact test is a relatively inexpensive test that is readily available and can prevent breakdown later on down the road.


charpy Impact Test– Ranger Steel products are manufactured with the highest standards of quality control and subjected to rigorous testing, including mechanical testing and the Charpy impact test. Ranger Steel has supplied North America’s steel plate needs for more than 50 years and ensures the use of quality products, competitive pricing and on-time delivery. Call Ranger Steel today at 800.231.5014 or visit us online at

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