TARRC’s world-first seismic testing machine for rubber bearings

The Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre (TARRC), the UK-based laboratory of the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) has opened a new US$2.8 million Engineering Laboratory in Hertford, UK, that will provide and support the global earthquake community with a research and testing resource for large seismic rubber bearings.  

The highlight includes a large, unique rubber component test machine housed in the laboratory that can test full-scale bearings under actual earthquake conditions – stringent testing of safety critical components subject bearings such as laminated metal-rubber seismic and structural bearings with dimensions up to 1,000mm, to a range of demanding and complex conditions similar to those experienced in-service.  The new machine is also able to test other large structural rubber-based bearings and large rubber products.

The powerful test machinery will provide 10MN compression load and a shear load of 1MN with a stroke of 1m. The actuators are under servohydraulic control that can deliver any time-history command within the capacity of the 600kW hydraulic powerpack system.

TARRC says it is the first machinery of its kind in the world capable of complex, combined testing of components in axial, shear and tilting modes of deformation. The laboratory will later provide CE marking testing services for component manufacturers to access the European market.

The approximately 216 sqm Engineering Laboratory is also home to a range of other state-of-the-art test equipment for dynamic and multiaxial testing of smaller components including tyres, test pieces for material properties characterisation and performance modelling. 

TARRC says its engineers have a pioneering role in the development of laminated natural rubber-metal bearings for civil engineering applications for over 60 years – regarded worldwide as experts in the principles of design of rubber engineering components for shock, noise and vibration control inclusive of small automotive mounts and bushes to anti-seismic devices and large marine fenders.

This new laboratory enables Malaysia to be at the forefront of providing anti-seismic and structural bearings testing to manufacturers worldwide. Commercial testing will be offered onwards of August 2019, and ISO-accredited testing for seismic isolation will be available from January 2020.