One material property that is widely used and recognized is the strength of a material. But what does the word “strength” mean? “Strength” can have many meanings, so let us take a closer look at what is meant by the strength of a material. We will look at a very easy experiment that provides lots of information about the strength or the mechanical behavior of a material, called the tensile test.
The basic idea of a tensile test is to place a sample of a material between two fixtures called “grips” which clamp the material. The material has known dimensions, like length and cross-sectional area. We then begin to apply weight to the material gripped at one end while the other end is fixed. We keep increasing the weight while at the same time measuring the change in length of the sample.
Manufacturers of metals, including producers of raw material or finished metal products, need to pass compliance standards before shipping their product. Tensile testing is imperative for ensuring a safe, high quality material and avoiding the major liabilities associated with providing non-compliant products. These actions will keep the end consumer satisfied and dramatically reduce the chance of failure in the field.
Why the Tensile Test Important?
It is a quick way to detect problems in the material that you are purchasing.
It measures tensile strength.
If your design needs a certain material tensile strength, you will know if this material will work for you.
You can get tensile modulus out of the test results.
This can go into your design equations to see if the material will work for you.
You can get Poisson’s Ratio, which is important for use in finite element analysis.