Why Everyone Should Care About Tensile Testing

The importance behind the tensile test

Basically, tensile testing tests the “strength” of a material. In its simplest form, this is achieved by a test machine pulling two ends of a sample in opposite directions until breaking point — this is known as uniaxial tensile testing. Anything can be tested for tensile strength, but different materials will react differently to the same forces, based on their material properties.

We perform tensile tests to know how a material will behave in certain conditions, or under certain stressors. The results of a tensile test help engineers decide how and when to use a material when they are designing a project.

This means that tensile testing helps guarantee the safety of a material. Any time you cross a bridge while driving, or take the elevator up to the top floor of a skyscraper, you don’t have to worry. The materials used to make these engineering marvels are themselves a product of countless hours of tests, including tensile tests.

The simple tensile test gives engineers and construction workers the confidence to know that the steel cables used to support a suspension bridge will be strong enough to support itself and thousands of cars per day and that the steel rebar will be strong enough to hold a skyscraper steady against the forces of wind and gravity.

Steel cables for bridges, rebar for buildings, rail for railroads, and screws and bolts to hold it all together — even if you aren’t an engineer, you can appreciate the benefits of tensile testing.

Why the Tensile Test Important?

1. It is a quick way to detect problems in the material that you are purchasing.
2. It measures tensile strength. If your design needs a certain material tensile strength, you will know if this material will work for  you.
3. 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.
4. You can get Poisson’s Ratio, which is important for use in finite element analysis.