Tensile testing

Introduction 1

When comparing different materials, we often compare them on the basis of stiffness, strength, hardness and toughness. We refer to these properties as the mechanical properties of the material because they relate to the structural (ie. mechanical) performance.

But what exactly are these properties? We can get a good understanding by looking at how they are measured. When we do this we also know they differ for different types of material.

The simplest way to measure these mechanical properties of materials is using the tensile test.

the result of a tensile test

Tensile testing

By the end of this tutorial, you should have an understanding of:
- the operation of a tensile test
- the typical form of a tensile curve
- the differences in the tensile behaviour of a range of different materials
- how the tensile curve can be used to calculate a range of mechanical properties

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