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).
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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)
Gases are complicated. A typical experiment with gases involves billions of atoms and molecules that are all colliding with each other. It is impossible to calculate all of these interactions but the concept of an 'ideal gas' approximates how these collisions work and allows us to predict the behaviour of a real gas. In this experiment you can explore how gas temperature, volume and pressure are related and how you could use them to create a heat engine.
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Thermodynamics and engine cycles are relevant to most areas of technology and science.
The behaviour of gases is used directly in applications as diverse as compressors, refrigerators, power generation from steam-driven turbines (used in gas-fired, coal-fired or nuclear power stations), pumping of gases (from natural gas pipe networks to aqualungs), and transport vehicles using petrol and diesel engines (combustion engines), jet and rocket engines, high performance tyres (e.g. for F1 cars) and even hot air balloons!
Thermodynamics is relevant far more widely though and to any system in which there is a change in energy, volume or ordering. This is relevant to almost every process around us, from sub-atomic particles forming atoms to the expansion of the universe and taking in atoms bonding to make a molecule or crystal (Physics), molecules reacting with each other (Chemistry), all biological processes (Biology), the weathering of rocks and tectonic plate movement (Geology). Even your breathing while you read this and your eye converting light into electrical signals so you can read
this are thermodynamic processes. All energy technologies, materials manufacturing or recycling, chemical processing, transport technologies and
even information technologies rely upon the principles of thermodynamics.
Thermodynamics and gas laws are, therefore, incredibly important topics. The FlashyScience Gas Laws virtual experiment allows you to start to explore this fascinating area of science and engineering.
Download the attached file to see the Quick Guide (log in required) or follow the instructions below:
Fill or empty the cylinder using the Gas Selection Unit:
Change the pressure in the cylinder using the Force Controller:
Change the temperature directly using the Temperature Controller
Measure the temperature using the Temperature Dial
Measure the volume using the vertical scale on the cylinder (centimetre scale; cylinder diameter = 5.00 cm)
Download the attached file to see the full operating instructions for the Gas Laws experiment (requires log in)
Download the attached file to see lots of Gas Laws experiments and questions (requires log in).
Here are a few simple suggestions for you to start exploring how ideal gases behave:
Download the attached file to see the Background science behind the Gas Laws experiment (requires log in)