To aid in the catalytic converter design and development process, a test apparatus was designed and built which will allow comparative evaluation of the durability of candidate mat materials under highly controlled thermal and vibration environments. The apparatus directly controls relative shear deflection between the substrate and can to impose known levels of mat material strain while recording the transmitted shear force across the mat material. Substrate and can temperatures are controlled at constant levels using a resistive thermal exposure (RTE) technique. Mat material fatigue after several million cycles is evident by a substantial decrease in the transmitted force. A fragility test was found to be an excellent method to quickly compare candidate materials to be used for a specific application. Examples of test results from several materials are given to show the utility of the mat material evaluation technique.