We get lots of calls asking for solutions - not products. As engineers we love challenges.

Recently a customer called with a unique testing need. A materials research scientist requires testing for a small irradiated ceramic material for their tensile properties.

The challenge

The customer requires their irradiated small ceramic sample to be tested with a tensile grip capable of handling 250 pounds (1200 N). The especially small sample size is not only tiny (0.65 in long 0.026 in thick 0.048 in wide) but brittle in nature. The slightest torsional or shear force could snap the fragile ceramic material in half. A pure tensile force is needed to achieve the desired results. The sample itself has two holes that make it possible to grip with pins.

The researcher’s request is further complicated with testing conditions. The tensile grip must withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees Celsius. The grip will be installed in an existing test machine located in a radioactive hot cell.


This complicated challenge is resolved with a simple solution. We provided a pair of clevis pin tensile grips matching the sample geometry and fabricated from nickel coated tool steel.

Our conceptualized design is delicate enough to handle the fragile sample yet tough enough to withstand raging heat within a radioactive hot cell.

This customized solution intended to break samples and not the bank was delivered at a price of $1 500.