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Tensile testing

Tensile specimens made from an aluminum alloy. The left two

specimens have a round cross-section and threaded shoulders.
The right two are at specimens designed to be used with serrated

tween. The shoulders are large so they can be readily

gripped, whereas the gauge section has a smaller crosssection so that the deformation and failure can occur in
this area.[2][4]

Tensile testing on a coir composite. Specimen size is not to standard (Instron).

The shoulders of the test specimen can be manufactured

in various ways to mate to various grips in the testing
machine (see the image below). Each system has advantages and disadvantages; for example, shoulders designed
for serrated grips are easy and cheap to manufacture, but
the alignment of the specimen is dependent on the skill
of the technician. On the other hand, a pinned grip assures good alignment. Threaded shoulders and grips also
assure good alignment, but the technician must know to
thread each shoulder into the grip at least one diameters
length, otherwise the threads can strip before the specimen fractures.[5]

Tensile testing, also known as tension testing,[1] is a

fundamental materials science test in which a sample is
subjected to a controlled tension until failure. The results from the test are commonly used to select a material for an application, for quality control, and to predict how a material will react under other types of forces.
Properties that are directly measured via a tensile test are
ultimate tensile strength, maximum elongation and reduction in area.[2] From these measurements the following properties can also be determined: Youngs modulus, Poissons ratio, yield strength, and strain-hardening
characteristics.[3] Uniaxial tensile testing is the most
commonly used for obtaining the mechanical characteristics of isotropic materials. For anisotropic materials,
such as composite materials and textiles, biaxial tensile
testing is required.

In large castings and forgings it is common to add extra

material, which is designed to be removed from the casting so that test specimens can be made from it. These
specimens may not be exact representation of the whole
workpiece because the grain structure may be dierent
throughout. In smaller workpieces or when critical parts
of the casting must be tested, a workpiece may be sacriced to make the test specimens.[6] For workpieces that
are machined from bar stock, the test specimen can be
made from the same piece as the bar stock.

Tensile specimen

A tensile specimen is a standardized sample cross- The repeatability of a testing machine can be found by
section. It has two shoulders and a gage (section) in be- using special test specimens meticulously made to be as

similar as possible.[6]

machine must be able to apply the force quickly or slowly
enough to properly mimic the actual application. Finally,
the machine must be able to accurately and precisely measure the gauge length and forces applied; for instance, a
large machine that is designed to measure long elongations may not work with a brittle material that experiences
short elongations prior to fracturing.[5]

A standard specimen is prepared in a round or a square

section along the gauge length, depending on the standard used. Both ends of the specimens should have sufcient length and a surface condition such that they are
rmly gripped during testing. The initial gauge length
Lo is standardized (in several countries) and varies with
the diameter (Do) or the cross-sectional area (Ao) of the Alignment of the test specimen in the testing machine is
specimen as listed
critical, because if the specimen is misaligned, either at
The following tables gives examples of test specimen di- an angle or oset to one side, the machine will exert a
bending force on the specimen. This is especially bad
mensions and tolerances per standard ASTM E8.
for brittle materials, because it will dramatically skew
the results. This situation can be minimized by using
spherical seats or U-joints between the grips and the test
2 Equipment
machine.[5] If the initial portion of the stressstrain curve
is curved and not linear, it indicates the specimen is misaligned in the testing machine.[8]
The strain measurements are most commonly measured
with an extensometer, but strain gauges are also frequently used on small test specimen or when Poissons
ratio is being measured.[5] Newer test machines have digital time, force, and elongation measurement systems consisting of electronic sensors connected to a data collection
device (often a computer) and software to manipulate and
output the data. However, analog machines continue to
meet and exceed ASTM, NIST, and ASM metal tensile
testing accuracy requirements, continuing to be used today.

3 Process
The test process involves placing the test specimen in the
testing machine and slowly extending it until it fractures.
During this process, the elongation of the gauge section
is recorded against the applied force. The data is manipulated so that it is not specic to the geometry of the test
sample. The elongation measurement is used to calculate
the engineering strain, , using the following equation:[4]

A universal testing machine (Hegewald & Peschke)

L L0

where L is the change in gauge length, L0 is the initial

length, and L is the nal length. The force measureThe most common testing machine used in tensile testing
used to calculate the engineering stress, , using
is the universal testing machine. This type of machine
has two crossheads; one is adjusted for the length of the
specimen and the other is driven to apply tension to the
test specimen. There are two types: hydraulic powered
and electromagnetically powered machines.[4]
The machine must have the proper capabilities for the test
specimen being tested. There are four main parameters: where F is the tensile force and A is the nominal crossforce capacity, speed, and precision and accuracy. Force section of the specimen. The machine does these calcucapacity refers to the fact that the machine must be able lations as the force increases, so that the data points can
to generate enough force to fracture the specimen. The be graphed into a stressstrain curve.[4]




ASTM E8/E8M-13: Standard Test Methods for

Tension Testing of Metallic Materials (2013)
ISO 6892-1: Metallic materials. Tensile testing.
Method of test at ambient temperature (2009)
ISO 6892-2: Metallic materials. Tensile testing.
Method of test at elevated temperature (2011)
JIS Z2241 Method of tensile test for metallic materials


Flexible materials

ASTM D638 Standard Test Method for Tensile

Properties of Plastics
ASTM D828 Standard test method for tensile properties of paper and paperboard using constant-rateof-elongation apparatus
ASTM D882 Standard test method for tensile properties of thin plastic sheeting
ISO 37 rubber, vulcanized or thermoplastic
determination of tensile stressstrain properties


[1] Czichos, Horst (2006). Springer Handbook of Materials

Measurement Methods. Berlin: Springer. pp. 303304.
ISBN 978-3-540-20785-6.
[2] Davis, Joseph R. (2004). Tensile testing (2nd ed.). ASM
International. ISBN 978-0-87170-806-9.
[3] Davis 2004, p. 33.
[4] Davis 2004, p. 2.
[5] Davis 2004, p. 9.
[6] Davis 2004, p. 8.
[7] Davis 2004, p. 52.
[8] Davis 2004, p. 11.

External links
Video on the tensile test

Determining the properties of a material by use of Tensile



Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses



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