What is a Cyclic Test?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A cyclic test is a type of test in which a product, material, or object of interest is subjected to repeated testing, instead of a single test cycle. The goal of such testing is to confirm that the product will perform reliably, and to get an opportunity to subject it to simulations of many different real world conditions. Cyclic testing is performed with the assistance of a variety of test equipment. Manufacturers of test equipment may offer a range of cyclic testing equipment, along with other types of equipment which can be utilized in a cyclic test.

Some labs may specialize in cyclic testing.
Some labs may specialize in cyclic testing.

Essentially, cyclic testing involves testing and retesting, to recheck product performance at various intervals. This provides a more accurate idea of how the product will perform in the real world, as most products are used for an extended period of time. A cyclic test can demonstrate not only the capacity of a product when new, but also the performance over time, looking at how issues like wear and corrosion interact with the product over its lifetime.

A variety of stress tests can be used during cyclic testing to try and push a product to its limits. A cyclic test can also include simulated conditions such as hot, wet, sandy, or salty working environments. The testers may think about the conditions in which the product is likely to be used to think about possible testing scenarios which might provide information which would be useful to have when people are evaluating how the product might perform in the real world.

Reliability testing can be important for many products and components. A cyclic load test, for example, subjects a test material to load cycles which will show how it performs over time in a variety of environments. This information can be valuable for things like the components being used in the construction of a bridge. While it's useful to know that such components are not going to fail immediately, it is also beneficial to know how far they can be pushed before they will start to experience problems. This information may be used to address issues like maintenance scheduling.

Products can be sent to a materials testing facility for a cyclic test in a lab which specializes in this type of testing and materials testing in general. It is also possible to run such tests in an internal lab. Many large companies which engage in complex engineering tasks perform materials testing in their own labs during product development, although they may send products out later to demonstrate a good faith interest in getting a neutral third party to evaluate their products for safety.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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