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Universal Testing Machines & Tensile Testing Machines

Differences And Uses of Universal Testing Machines And Tensile Testing Machines

You may be confused when you hear tensile testing machines and Universal Testing Machines (UTMs) because both these sound almost the same phonetically and are often used interchangeably. 


In addition to the basic terminology, there are also several other factors that may create confusion among the ignorant. For example, the terms may be used interchangeably depending on the type of industry in question as well as the reference to the context.


In simple words, it means that a particular piece of equipment that can be considered a Universal Testing Machine can be called a tensile testing machine if it is used explicitly for performing tensile tests despite its inherent versatility. This is a common scenario in the materials testing department of the mechanical engineering sector.


From a different perspective, in the market, you may find retailers and sellers referring to a tensile testing machine as a Universal Testing Machine in spite of knowing the differences between the two. This is because these machines are a specific type of UTM designed for tensile testing only. This is a fundamental and most common test performed on almost every material.


However, there are quite a few subtle differences between these two terms, both their applications and performances. In this article, you will come to learn about it all.


The Basic Aspects of Universal Testing Machines

Universal Testing Machines

A Universal Testing Machine is often referred to as UTM as an acronym or as a Materials Testing Machine simply. It is one of the most versatile equipment found in most materials testing labs and research and development departments of different organizations.


The primary application of the UTM is to test the mechanical properties of different materials precisely. The design of this machine allows analyzing data from various tests conducted, such as compression, tension, shear, bending, and other loads.


The most significant thing about these machines is the term ‘universal,’ which implies that these machines can perform a multitude of tests.


The Basic Aspects of Tensile Testing Machines

Tensile Testing Machines

On the other hand, Tensile Testing Machines are typically a specific type of Universal Testing Machine. However, it is designed to measure the tensile strength or tensile load-bearing ability of the materials or test specimens primarily.


In addition, it also evaluates the effects of tension on the materials and measures elongation.


Differences in Testing Abilities


One of the significant differences between a tensile and a Universal Testing Machine lies in their testing capabilities.


As said earlier, a UTM can perform a multitude of tests, including tensile strength tests, but a tensile testing machine can only evaluate materials based on their tension-bearing abilities. It is designed and optimized for it and cannot accommodate as many test requirements as a UTM. 


Difference in Load Capacity


There is a stark difference in the load capacity of a UTM and a tensile testing machine as well. While the former is available in a wide variety of designs and capable of bearing varying load capacities depending on the type of tests and their needs, the latter cannot. 


A tensile testing machine can deal with only a limited variety of materials for testing because it can handle only precise loads related to tension. However, these machines can take lightweight and heavy-duty samples.


Differences in Design


A notable difference between the two machines is also seen in their respective designs. There is usually a more comprehensive range of grips and fixtures in a UTM than in a tensile testing machine, primarily due to the higher testing capabilities of the former. This helps the UTM to secure different types of materials or test specimens during the testing process.


Another significant difference in relation to their design is that the grips and fixtures of a UTM can be interchanged as and when it is required to put up to different testing necessities. 


On the other hand, tensile testing machines usually come with specialized grips and fixtures. These are meant to secure test specimens to be evaluated for their tensile strength only to ensure these do not slip and get damaged during the process. Therefore, the variety is limited.


Differences in Uses and Applications


One of the most significant points to note while comparing Universal Testing Machines vs Tensile Testing Machines is their differences in applications and uses.


From the application perspective, you will find a UTM being used across different types of industries for testing different kinds of materials under different scenarios. Ideally, these machines are designed to test and produce precise data for analysis not only for basic material testing but also for other purposes. 


For example, the data produced can be used for designing a much better and more efficient quality control system, if needed, and if a large number of faults are found in the produced goods or materials that ought to be remedied.


In addition, the data derived from different tests conducted in a UTM may also help in the research and development process for the product manufactured by the company. This further helps in creating better and more helpful product designs.


Most importantly, the tests conducted on UTM help organizations in compliance testing irrespective of the type of industry and variety of products.


On the other hand, tensile testing machines are pretty versatile, but their focus is minimal. As said earlier, these machines are designed to be used for only those applications that are related to tensile testing to measure elongation.


As a result, these machines are mainly used to measure the tensile and elongation properties of textiles, metals, plastics, and composites. These machines are perfect for measuring yield strength with respect to elasticity modulus. Since these machines are designed to measure in a uniaxial manner and follow a standard procedure, they are not suitable for measuring complex materials.




In conclusion, the differences between a tensile testing machine and a Universal Testing Machines are many. They are not only different in their terminology and testing abilities but also differ in design, features, and applications. Now that you know the critical differences between the two, you will not be confused anymore.