Structural materials are required to withstand a variety of applied loads in use. Understanding how these materials respond to applied loads is vital for informed materials selection. Here you can investigate how materials behave under tensile loading (loads applied along the length of a material to cause stretching).
Press GO to launch the experiment!
What is ‘Tensile Testing’?
The ‘tensile’ properties of a material describe its most basic mechanical behaviour – how much does a material stretch when it is pulled and how much of the stretching is permanent? ‘Tensile Testing’ is the process of measuring a material’s tensile properties.
Why are tensile properties important?
Understanding of tensile properties is vital for any application that uses materials structurally, i.e. to withstand or apply force. The range of uses this covers is enormous. Strong and stiff structures are used in vehicles (cycles, cars, trains, aeroplanes, spacecraft), bridges and buildings, sports equipment and bio-implants (e.g. hip joint replacements). Flexible materials are also used in many of these applications. Thin but robust materials are used in touchscreens. Hard materials are used in machines and robots that process and shape other materials and as durable coatings that improve the performance and lifetime of aerospace and bio-implant components. Elastic materials can be stretched enormously before any permanent change is made and are used in springs and high performance fabrics. And it’s not just how a component is used – many manufacturing processes involve changing a component’s shape or response to applied forces, e.g. extrusion to make tubes, beams and bottles; drawing to make springs or wires; or forging and rolling to shape and harden metals.
To select a sample:
To set the strain increment:
To apply strain to samples:
These instructions can be downloaded below.
Download: Tensile Testing - Quick Guide (pdf)
Download the file below for the full instructions, including background, relevance, operating instructions and questions.
Structural materials are required to withstand a variety of applied loads in use. Understanding how these materials respond to the applied loads is vital for informed materials selection. Here we investigate how materials behave under tensile loading (loads applied along the length of a material to cause stretching).
The Tensile Test experiment allows a number of mechanical tests to be performed on materials, including:
The Tensile Testing experiment can be used for a wide range of investigations.
This downloadable pdf below contains a range of example short and long questions.
We have also provided a spreadsheet file to allow you to enter your SAMPLE WIDTH, STRAIN and APPLIED LOAD data and obtain stress-strain plots. (HINT: to investigate the general form of stress-strain curves with younger students, use a default sample width of, say, 7 mm)Download: Tensile Testing - Questions (pdf)
Watch the video above and download the file below to learn about the scientific background of Tensile TestsDownload: Tensile Testing - Background (pdf)