Compression Testing Equipment From United Testing Systems

Learn More About Universal Compression Testing Machines

Compression testing is one of the primary static mechanical test procedures performed on a Universal Test Machine (UTM), in addition to tension testing and bend/flex (flexure) testing.

Common materials that undergo compression testing include Plastic, Foam, Composite Material, Concrete, Soils, Flexible Films and many different types of finished goods and products such as Compression Springs or Boxes used for packaging.

While there are a variety of international standards specific to compression testing, many customers do not adhere to a specific standard, rather they simply want to compress a sample to a specific load, or to a specific displacement in order to measure compressive properties unique to their particular sample.

We find that customers often perform compression testing to analyze key mechanical properties related to a part, component, or finished product from a variety of industries, representing a wide range of products with many different end-uses.

Our customers can select from a wide range of electromechanical Universal Test Machines (UTM’s) or Servo-Hydraulic UTM’s to test a wide range of forces from a few ounces up to several hundred tons!

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Some examples of compression testing applications we often see from our customers are shown below.

Composite Compression Testing

Compression Spring Testing

Concrete Compression Testing

Foam Compression Testing

Package Compression Testing

Plastic Compression Testing

Rubber Compression Testing

Soils Compression Testing

Top Load/Crush Compression Testing

Wood Compression Testing


Learn More About Our Foam Compression Tester

Why Perform a Compression Test?

A simple compression test can be used to measure how much force it will take for the sample being tested to fail based on the amount of force that is applied. This basic measurement has many beneficial uses for quality control and R&D purposes.

By understanding how a sample fails under compressive forces a Materials Engineer may be able to determine if less material can be used in a finished product, say plastic used in packaging, or if a different formulation of raw materials produce more desirable results. A Quality Control Engineer may simply want to know how much force it takes to break a product to determine how much weight can be stacked on top of it for shipping purposes.

More advanced compression testing may involve compressing a sample to a specified height based on the original height. It is very common to compress a sample to 1%, 5%, or 10% of its original height and then report key information such as;

Chord Slope

Deflection at Maximum Load

Deflection at Rupture

Load at Rupture

Maximum Load

Offset Yield




Work at Maximum Load

Work at Rupture


Compression Plates

The most common fixtures used for compression testing, known as compression plates, are very simple in design and purpose. They are typically round and differentiated by their diameter and can be produced in almost any size that a UTM can accommodate. Typical sizes would be 2.5”, 4”, 6”, 8”, and 12”.

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Square compression plates are also very common and are usually differentiated by size in terms of length and width, or area.

Some compression plates, such as those used for testing foam have holes drilled in them to allow air from a sample to escape, thus providing a more accurate measurement of the compressive force.

There are practical limitations to the size a compression plate can be made due to side-loading that may take place on a load cell and to bending and flexing that can occur which would produce inaccurate force results. It’s always best to consult with our engineers as to what the appropriate size compression plate is for your particular application.

United Testing Systems offers a large selection of Universal Compression Testers, as well as compression plates and other common accessories.  We also have a close relationship with our sister company, Testing Machines, Inc., who also provde a wide range of compression testing equipment.

17-56 Crush Tester

17-77 Top Load Compression Tester


Common Compression Testing Standards

ASTM D3574-17 - Standard Test Methods for Flexible Cellular Materials

ASTM D695-15 - Compressive Properties of Rigid Plastics

ASTM C109 - Compression Testing 2-Inch Concrete Cubes

ASTM D2844 - Moisture Exudation Test Compacted Soils

ASTM D3846 - In-Plane Shear Strength of Reinforced Plastics

ASTM D575-91 - (2012) Method A Rubber Properties in Compression

ASTM F1306 - Slow Rate Penetration Resistance of Flexible Barrier Films and Laminates

EN12430 - Point Compression of Thermal Insulation

ISO 7886-1 - Testing Sterile Hypodermic Syringes

ISO 844 - Compression Properties of Rigid Cellular Plastics

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