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SMPA, Structural Materials Performance Assessment Laboratories (EMMA)

The EMMA laboratories provide the infrastructure for mechanical tests in ambient and corrosive environments from cryogenic to high temperatures at the macro and micro scales. SMPA test machines include Tensile Test, Charpy Hammer, creep test machine.


Publication date
15 November 2023 in Petten, The Netherlands
Opening date
Deadline model
Deadline date
31 March 2024, 23:45 (CEST)


SMPA Laboratory Equipment
European Union, 2022


The mechanical test laboratory SMPA is part of the EMMA laboratories.

The EMMA laboratories provide the infrastructure for mechanical tests in ambient and corrosive environments from cryogenic to high temperatures at the macro and micro scales.

SMPA is located at the Joint Research Centre in Petten (the Netherlands), includes the following test machines:

  • Universal Tensile test Machines for tensile, fatigue, fracture, and creep fatigue, SSRT, and Creep-fatigue Crack Growth:
    • Small load electro-mechanical test machine
      • Adapted for small punch test
      • Load range: 3 kN
      • Environmental chamber: -150 to 600oC
    • Medium load electro-mechanical machine:
      • Load range: 100kN
      • Environmental chamber: -150 to 600oC
      • Furnace: up to 900oC
      • 3D DIC system for non-contact measurement of displacement fields
  • Charpy Hammer:
    • 300J and 50J, both instrumented
    • -150 to 300°C
  • Creep test machines:
    • Seven uniaxial creep test rigs 20kN, oven heated 900°C
    • Four small punch creep test machines induction heating up to 900°C

Post-test equipment available at EMMA laboratories: 3D profilometry, x-ray tomography, SEM (EDX, WDX), Optical microscope, XRD, TEM, Vicker's micro hardness (0.1kg – 20kg). It is possible to make an Open Access Proposal using more than one EMMA laboratory.

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Priority topics of SMPA

  1. Safety and reliability of nuclear components
  2. Support to the development and adaptation of European Codes and Standards
  3. Development of test procedures and instrumentation with available test equipment to achieve simpler, more reliable or non-standard tailored data and estimates for of material properties
  4. Prediction of design life of new materials and remaining life of service-exposed materials including welded joints. The data will be in support of model development and validation
  5. Characterization of tensile and creep and creep-fatigue properties of new and service-exposed materials using standard and miniaturized specimen tests

Definition and conditions of access

Access to the research infrastructure is granted on the basis of Access Units. For SMPA, the Access Unit corresponds to an 'AU' and its definition depends on the type of equipment made available to users.

  • Two uniaxial creep machines (20 kN) are available. Duration of creep tests can range from a few days to years. The AU is "1 week", which includes preparation and continuous operation of each machine. Depending on the test programme, the machines can typically run between 200 and 8000 hours.
  • Four small punch creep test machines are available. The small punch creep test has a shorter duration that standard uniaxial creep tests. The AU are "1 week", which includes preparation and continuous operation of each machine. Depending on the test programme, the machines can typically run between 24 and 700 hours.
  • One low force testing machine (3kN), operated during working hours. Test durations typically minutes to hours. With preparation minimum one day allocated. The AU is "1 day" of operation during working hours.
  • Charpy hammer (300 or 50J), operated during working hours. Test durations typically 1 hour; with preparation minimum one day allocated. The AU is "1 day" of operation during working hours.

The user is expected to be experienced in the tests types to be performed and is also expected to be able to independently prepare and conduct tests after short training provided on-site.

  • Estimated total number of Access Unit allocated to the call:
    • Creep machines (20 kN): 80 AU (80 weeks)
    • Small punch creep machines : 20 AU (20 weeks)
    • One miniature testing machine (3kN): 30 AU (30 days)
    • Charpy Hammers (300 or 50J): 10 AU (10 days)
  • Average number of Access Unit per Project:
    • Creep Machines (20 kN): 40 AU (40 weeks)
    • Small punch creep machines: 10 AU (10 weeks)
    • Miniature testing machine (3 kN): 15 AU (15 days)
    • Charpy Hammers (300 or 50J): 5 AU (5 days)
  • Estimated maximum duration of the User Access Project: 24 months
  • Estimated additional costs excluding consumables and other expenses:
    • Research infrastructure operated by JRC staff: 0€ / Day
    • Research infrastructure operated by users: Yes

The users may also take advantage of JRC High Performance Cluster and finite element codes as well as microstructural analysis to prepare tests plans and post analysis.

Access to SMPA test machines for which AUs are not defined, may exceptionally be included. It is expected that the Users’ Institutions provide the test specimens.

Support of users for travel and subsistence

The JRC may provide a financial or in-kind contribution to support Users to cover their costs of travel and subsistence (T&S) related to the User Stay Days, subject to the availability of funds, personnel and other resources to Users from User Institutions located in an EU Member State or country associated to the Euratom Research Programme (only Ukraine).

User Stay Day is a day of physical presence of a User at the concerned Research Infrastructure for Access related to the User Access Project. A User Stay Day counts as a registered entry to the JRC site where the Research Infrastructure is located.

  • Estimated total number of User Stay Days for short- term stays eligible for T&S allocated to the call: 40
  • Estimated total number for long- term stays (months) eligible for T&S allocated to the call: 16

A short-term stay corresponds to a stay of up to 20 User Stay Days.

A long-term stays corresponds to a stay exceeding 20 User Stay Days, up to a maximum of 200 User Stay Days.

For more information on the support offered to users please consult the Rules on the contribution to travel and subsistence expenses of external users.

Long-term stays are primarily meant for undergraduate and graduate students and have a duration of at least one month. They are typically three to nine months for Karlsruhe, and one to six months for Petten and Geel.

The Lead User is welcomed to fill in the User travel and subsistence form  and send it to JRC-OPEN-SMPAatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (JRC-OPEN-SMPA[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu) by the closing date of the call. For more information, the Lead User may contact the JRC Research Infrastructure at JRC-OPEN-SMPAatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (JRC-OPEN-SMPA[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu).

Allocation of intellectual property rights:

  • The JRC and the entitled party (person or organisation that has been granted access) become co-owners in equal shares of all raw data, treated data and documentation data developed with respect to the access.

or, if requested by the user or when users run the research infrastructure

  • Raw data, treated data and documentation data will be solely owned by the entitled party. The JRC receives a non-exclusive, royalty free, unlimited and world-wide license to use (meaning in particular to access, exploit, adapt, merge, translate, copy and store) the raw data, processed data and documentation data in all fields of exploitation. Where relevant, the license will include all the data / information necessary to replicate the tests.

Eligibility criteria

  • The Lead User Institution and User Institutions (see definitions in the Framework) must be from an EU Member State, or country associated to the Euratom research programme (at the time of the publication of the call this only includes Ukraine).
  • The scope of the work for nuclear RIs must be in line with the activities defined in Annex I of Council Regulation (Euratom) 2021/765.
  • The Lead User Institution must be from a university, research or public institution, or from a Small-Medium-Enterprise (SME).
  • User Institutions from international organisations, under the condition that the Lead User Institution and at least 2/3 of all the User Institutions (including the Lead User Institution) are located in a Member State or a country associated to Horizon Europe or to the Euratom research programme. In case of one or two User Institutions (including the Lead User Institutions), this requirement is only applied to the Lead User Institution.
  • Ethical considerations in accordance with EU Law, in particular Art. 19 of Regulation (EU) 2021/695, and applicable laws and regulations in the EU Member States.
  • The proposal submission form is complete and complies with the instructions.

Selection criteria

Proposals will be evaluated in accordance to the following selection criteria:

  • Scientific implementation (50 points)
  • Collaboration and access to new Users (20 points)
  • Strategic relevance (30 points)

How to apply

The proposal must be prepared using the Relevance-driven Proposal Submission Form.

During preparation of the proposal, applicants are encouraged to:

  • Read the "Framework for Access to the physical Research Infrastructures of the JRC" and its annexes.
  • Contact the research infrastructure at JRC-OPEN-SMPAatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (JRC-OPEN-SMPA[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu) to specify the level of experience of the user(s) to perform related tests and to assess feasibility aspects related to the capacity of the research infrastructure concerning:
    • Material,
    • Test parameters,
    • Specimen geometry.

Proposals should be submitted to JRC-RI-OPEN-ACCESSatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (JRC-RI-OPEN-ACCESS[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu) by the closing date of the call. The deadline has been extended until 29 February 2024.

The User Selection Committee will only evaluate proposals that are complete and comply with the instructions in the proposal submission form.