Experimental studies on modern taxa can be useful in determining taphonomic aspects of fossil taxa. The manifestations of the physical deterioration of organismal hard parts can be examined using basic engineering testing procedures. The amount of hard part deterioration that has occurred at any give post-mortem interval can be examined by repetition of these procedures. Both the mode of breakage and the change in the strength of the various components of the preservable hard parts of organisms can be observed. Using multiple tensometer arrangements shells of the modern articulate brachiopod Terebratalia transversa have been tested for the strengths of both the hinging mechanisms and of the disarticulated valves for post-mortem intervals ranging from one to twelve days.