Torque Testing

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Torque is the angular force required to turn something. Examples would be the force required to turn the steering wheel as you go around a corner, or the force provided by an aircraft engine to turn a propeller are both simple examples of torques. Torque testing involves measuring the amount of torque being applied to an object.

Two of the more common applications for torque testing are in fastening and in products with rotating parts such as motors, engines or transmissions. By measuring and analyzing the torque characteristics in such applications it is possible to not only accurately determine the quality of the part or process, but also the root cause of a wide variety of defects.

A torque transducer, a device that is similar to a load cell, is used to convert torque into an electrical signal. The conversion is indirect and happens in two stages. Using a mechanical arrangement, the torque being sensed deforms a strain gauge. The strain gauge converts the deformation to an electrical signal. A torque transducer normally consists of a Wheatstone bridge configuration of four strain gauges. The electrical signal output is typically in the order of a few millivolts and usually requires an instrumentation amplifier to amplify the signal before it can be used. The output of the transducer uses an algorithm to calculate the force applied to the transducer. There are several styles available for torque transducers. Rotary, stationary, and inline are used for different calibration and audit purposes.

A torque tester is used as a quality control device to test or calibrate torque controlled tools. This includes electronic torque wrenches, click torque wrenches, dial torque wrenches, electric screwdrivers, air screwdrivers, pulse tools, cordless screwdrivers, and torque screwdrivers. Today’s advanced torque testers include the ability to measure both in clockwise and counter-clockwise directions. In addition they can convert in to several engineering units (in•oz, in•lb, ft•lb, N•m, cN•m, kgf•cm, gf•cm, kgf•fm), 3 modes of operation (peak, 1st peak, track), and include a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) certificate (or its domestic pendant).


ASTM E2428 - 08 Standard Practice for Calibration of Torque-Measuring Instruments for Verifying the Torque Indication of Torque Testing Machines
ASTM D2063 / D2063M - 10(2012) Standard Test Methods for Measurement of Torque Retention for Packages with Continuous Thread Closures Using Non-Automated (Manual) Torque Testing Equipment
ASTM E2624 - 09 Standard Practice for Torque Calibration of Testing Machines and Devices