Although rate-change experiments are essential for characterizing rate-dependent flow, certain nonobvious aspects of test machine dynamic response and control system strategies can distort rate-change data. These distortions are large enough to cause rate-change experiments to characterize the test system dynamic response instead of the test material’s rate dependence. We demonstrate that both relaxation and strain rate change experiments exhibit this potential distortion of test data. Investigators performing these experiments must therefore examine control error carefully to assure that the experiments are valid. We demonstrate that the standard PID control modes normally used in servocontrolled mechanical test equipment will generate error. Either P or PD control modes are more appropriate for rate-change experiments.

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