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- Tensile Test Lab Report
- Experiment 1-Tensile Test
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- Tensile Test
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Location: HOPEMAN 133

Summary:

In this experiment you will be determining Young’s modulus, the yield strength, ultimate

strength, fracture stress, elongation, and other properties of several tensile bars using a screw driven

MTS load frame. After testing you will need to make graphs from your data. You will need various

measurements of sample geometry to calculate engineering stress versus engineering strain to obtain the

material properties. You will be expected to estimate the magnitude and sources of error in your

measurements. Your samples will include an annealed AISI 1018 steel sample and a T-351 tempered

2024 aluminum specimen that have the same geometry. The heat treatment of the steel is fully annealed;

the tensile samples should have quite different material properties so you will see a variety of material

behaviors.

Instructions:

Before coming to lab, read through this handout so that you will know what will be expected of

you in the lab. Each student should answer all the questions on the preliminary question sheet to be

turned in before doing the lab (See important dates for Lab #1). Each group will write one report by

answering the questions in the discussion section of this lab manual. You will receive the lab data as an

Excel file.

1. Apparatus:

In this experiment you will use an MTS machine designed for tensile testing to obtain mechanical

properties for the two specimens. The machine has an 11,200 lb. capacity (50.2 kN). As shown in Figure

1, the MTS machine consists of a large heavy-duty test frame with a fixed beam at the bottom, a moving

beam (referred to as a crosshead) and a gearbox and large motor located (concealed) in its base. The

motor moves the crosshead vertically up or down. The gearbox is used to select high and low speed

ranges for movement of the crosshead. The specimen is mounted between two grips, one attached to the

fixed beam and the other attached to the moving crosshead. The movement of the crosshead relative to

the fixed beam generates the strain within the specimen and consequently the corresponding load. The

crosshead beam contains a (strain gage) load cell that measures the applied force on the tensile

specimen.

Next to the test frame is the associated electronics console and computer that uses LabVIEW, a

computer software package for controlling experiments and recording data. MTS calls the program Test

Works. The program contains the main start/stop controls for testing and the adjustments for the

sensitivity of the strain gage load cell (a strain gage bridge) as well as a "chart recorder" to read the

output of the load cell bridge.

Most engineering materials are nearly rate-insensitive but the rate of elongation is controlled during the

tensile test by moving one of the grips at a fixed displacement rate relative to the other. Usual testing

rates correspond to engineering strain rates of about 10-3/s where the strain rate represents how quickly

the strain in the gage length is changing with respect to time. You might expect that if the specimen had

a one inch gage length, you would set the displacement of the machine to 10-3 inches per second, for the

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specimen to experience a 10-3/s strain rate. However, the machine displacement also includes the

elongation of the grips, the ends of specimen, the load cell, and the deflection of everything in the test

frame. During the initial displacement of the crossheads, the sample experiences little load as the gaps

between the thread and around the pins are being closed. That is why the sample extension must be

measured with an extensometer to obtain an accurate measurement of the elastic strains so Young’s

Modulus can be determined. A close-up view of a specimen with an attached extensometer is shown in

Figure 2.

You will be testing two samples in uniaxial tension. During a tension test, it is desirable to apply forces

to the specimen large enough to break it. The grip region must have a large enough area to transmit the

force to the gage length of the sample without significant deformation or slipping. Consequently, most

specimens have enlarged grip regions. While most material properties are supposed to be specimen

geometry and grip independent, there are some weak dependencies. For the samples chosen in this

laboratory, there are additional strains in the gage length so your calculations of Young’s modulus will

be low by about 1-2 %. A very long sample with a small gage length is needed to accurately determine

Young’s modulus. In engineering practice, there are standard specimen geometries specified by the

American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM). ASTM also prescribes test methods so that data

reported for design purposes is obtained in a very standardized way. The specimen geometry is usually

reported as part of the test results. A copy of the E 8–04 Standard Test Methods for Tension Testing of

Metallic Materials can be found in the lab and in Carlson Reference (TA402.A51b v.3.01 2006). The

procedure below is based on this standard.

The data you will record are the load and specimen elongation as a function of time. The load will be

measured with the load cell in series with the sample. The specimen elongation will be measured with

an extensometer attached directly to the sample. This transducer is designed to produce a linear voltage

output with respect to gage length displacement. Since the initial gage length is fixed, the output is then

proportional to the engineering strain. If the load signal (voltage which is proportional to the applied

force) and the extensometer signals are plotted using an X-Y plot, the initial slope is used to determine

the elastic modulus. To prevent damage to the extensometer, it must be removed before the specimen

fractures. After this point, the elongation of the specimen is estimated by Test Works from the cross-

head displacement, force, and machine stiffness. The machine stiffness is determined from the crosshead

displacement less the extensometer displacement plotted versus the load.

Crosshead

Specimen

Extensometer

Threaded end

Fixed beam

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2. Experimental Procedure:

Measure and record the diameter and lengths of all the samples. Be sure to estimate the

magnitude and sources of error in your measurements.

Chris Pratt will calibrate the MTS load cell and the extensometer for you. She will help you obtain and

understand the details of these calibrations. Be sure you record the gage length of the extensometer

along with the calibrated units for the extensometer displacement. Also record the load cell range

and displacement rate settings for the crosshead on the MTS for each individual sample. These

settings may vary between samples and will be used to interpret your laboratory data later. Also make

sure to avoid hysteresis effects when calibrating the extensometer - Chris will help you understand how

to implement these procedures.

Once the instrument is calibrated you are ready to mount the sample and perform the actual test. Repeat

this procedure for both specimens. Install the specimen in the grips. Be careful to follow the

recommended installation procedures as given by Chris so that no damage occurs to yourself or the test

equipment. Be careful to avoid placing any part of your body at a pinch point. The final coupling should

be performed by trial and error by slipping the pin in by hand with the machine stopped. Move the

crosshead up and down at a very slow speed until you can do this manually. Zero and calibrate the load

cell once the specimen is in place (Why do you need to rezero the load cell?). Do this in Test Works,

which can adjust the load cell bridge to match the zero line on the chart. (The preliminary calculation

that you have done in the preparatory questions should confirm that for the steel samples you should

expect about 5000 lb. full-scale range for measurement.) Install the calibrated extensometer on the

specimen. Be sure that it is centered and straight and that it is fully closed. Re-zero the extensometer so

the data on the load and displacement versus time data file does not require you to remove the local zero

offset that was used in calibration.

Strain rates on the order of 10- /s are reasonable. Strengths typically have only weak strain rate

3

dependence. Chris may recommend a faster rate based on time constraints. Heat treatment and chemical

variations may differ for materials so these conditions are reflected in the reported textbook values. The

shape of the curves, however, remains fundamentally the same.

Observe the specimen. Do not get too close because fracture of the specimen liberates all the stored

elastic energy in the specimen. Do you see bands propagating along the steel specimen? These are

Luders bands indicating the multiplication and motion of dislocations. They will not be visible unless

the specimen is highly polished.

You will obtain an excel file with load and extension vs time so you can calculate stress vs strain for the

test. After a few percent strain just before fracture remove the extensometer and then continue the

test, recording the load vs. time curve until fracture. Observe the neck formation. Note that it always

starts to form at the maximum load for ductile tensile tests. Measure the final cross-sectional area

both at the neck and away from the neck and the final total length of each sample.

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3. Background and Theory

Additional background for this lab can be found in your ME 226 textbook, Mechanics of

Materials, by Gere and Goodno or most introductory mechanics of materials or materials science texts.

In a uniaxial tension test, we are mainly interested in the stress and strain in the axial direction.

ε = Engineering strain is the elongation per unit (original) length

P δ

Engineering Stress, σ = and Engineering Strain, ε =

A0 L0

L0 = original length of the gage section

P = applied force

δ = L − L0 = change in length

In the linear elastic region of the uniaxial test, Hooke’s law relates the engineering stress to the

engineering strain,

σ=Eε

where E is Young's modulus. (Note that this relationship holds only for uniaxial elastic

tension/compression. We will consider a more general form for the stress-strain relationship later in the

course.) It is assumed σ = 0 when ε = 0 .

True stress σTrue and true strain εTrue differ from engineering stress and strain because they

refer to the instantaneous area and gage length respectively.

P dL

True stress σTrue = and true strain, dεTrue =

A L

A = instantaneous cross-sectional area.

The strain has the natural logarithm or ln dependence because it is determined from the

instantaneous gage length. This can be obtained by integrating the true strain equation given above to

obtain an expression for εTrue. Integrate

ε True L

∫ dεTrue = ∫

dL

L

0 L0

to obtain

L

εTrue = ln .

L0

Note that

x 1 ⎛ x⎞2 1 ⎛ x⎞3 1 ⎛ x⎞4

ln (a + x ) = ln(a) + − + ⎝ ⎠ − ⎝ ⎠ + ,

a 2 ⎝ a⎠ 3 a 4 a

so that when ΔL << Lo

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⎛ Lo + ΔL ⎞

εTrue = ln⎜ ⎟ = ln(1+ ε) ≅ ε .

⎝ Lo ⎠

For strains of about 1%, the "error" is of order of ε 2 or 10-4. Consequently, there is no significant

difference in the engineering and true strains when all measurements are of small strains.

To calculate the true stress, an estimate for the instantaneous area A is needed, since typically this is not

measured. For large strains in plastic deformation, the volume of the specimen is approximately

conserved (do you know why?); shear deformation changes shape but not volume. The volume of course

changes in the elastic part of the tensile curve (can you calculate how large the change in volume is

before yield). Once plastic deformation starts the volume is nearly constant, the instantaneous area A

can be calculated from the measured length L . Assuming volume is conserved and the deformation is

uniform throughout the gage length (i.e., before necking!), Volume = A0 L0 AL . Or, rearranging

L

A = A0 0 .

L

Initially, the specimen will deform so that its cross-sectional area will remain homogeneous along its

length and therefore, the stress and strain will be approximately constant throughout the gage length of

the specimen. When the work hardening rate has reached its critical value, the specimen may neck down

and begin local deformation. This always occurs at the peak load. (Why?) To determine the true stress-

strain behavior beyond the peak load requires knowledge of the non-uniform geometry of the neck in

both the calculation of the strain and the stress distribution. In this region, the stress is non-uniform

because the cross-sectional area changes along the tensile bar’s length; the strain is non-uniform because

the geometry is rapidly changing. In ductile materials, the true stress at fracture can be several times the

engineering stress at fracture.

Most data you will be exposed to are engineering stress and strain unless otherwise specified. If there is

a yield point, namely, a sharp transition between elastic and plastic deformation, yield stress is typically

defined as the stress at the yield point. If there is a yield drop, there is an upper yield point and a lower

yield point. If the load vs displacement curve is smooth, the yield point is usually defined as the stress

corresponding to a specific amount of plastic strain. 0.2% permanent strain is used to define the yield

stress by ASTM. Then the yield stress is so identified as 0.2% yield. The ultimate strength or tensile

strength is the largest engineering stress achieved during the test to failure.

The elongation to failure is the permanent engineering strain at fracture determined at zero load. It does

not include elastic strain but does include both uniform strain and the localized, necking, strain. The

elongation to failure is usually stated as percent strain over a given gage length. The reduction in area is

a better a measure of ductility. The true strain at fracture can’t be measured at the neck so it is

determined by measuring the areas of the fractured specimen at the fracture site and the equation

obtained using a constant volume approximation and D the sample diameter,

L A D

ε True = ln = ln 0 = 2 ln 0 .

L0 A D

The area under the engineering stress-strain curve is a measure of the energy needed to fracture the

specimen. It has units of work/unit volume of the gage length within the neck and it is sometimes

erroneously referred to as a measure of a material's "toughness." However, the term fracture toughness

more correctly refers to the energy required to fracture pre-cracked samples. Fracture toughness is a

concept that comes from Fracture Mechanics not covered in the course text. Although, these two

quantities may be related in some instances, this relationship is still unknown to the technical and

scientific community.

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4. Laboratory Report: DUE February 4 (at the beginning of class).

Lab reports are not to exceed 4 pages, excluding the graphs. Put several curves on the same plot to aid

comparisons. The report should first briefly describe the experimental procedure, the machine settings

you used, and all of your measurement results. When giving results, give equations you used and explain

how you obtained the resulting numbers. Remember, to organize results in paragraphs (equations

should be treated as phrases in a sentence) and to describe all figures and tables in the text; do not

give a figure or table without a caption.

Report the following quantitative data for each of the samples if it exists:

0.2% yield strength (offset method)

Volume change in the sample at 0.2% yield (assume Poisson’s ratio is 0.27)

Upper and lower yield stresses

Ultimate or tensile strength

Engineering and also true strain at failure

Reduction in area of the tensile bar at the neck and in remaining gage length

Area of the largest crack that formed in neck before shear lip fracture

True fracture stress

1. After plastically deforming the samples, if they were unloaded then upon reloading what

would be the yield point? Explain?

2. Compare your extensometer and crosshead data. Explain what is happening at the very

beginning of the tensile test. How is extension estimated after the extensometer is removed?

Give a value for the machine stiffness from your data. Also, verify whether the strain rates

are as you expect.

3. When an automobile crashes we want the energy of impact to be expended in deforming the

car rather than the occupants. What material property corresponds to energy absorption?

Clearly, a very strong, brittle material would be a poor choice for the car body. What about a

material with high ductility but very low strength? Of the materials you tested in this

experiment, which one would have the best performance as an absorber? Why? Base your

answers on the load vs displacement curves you measured for these materials. How much is

the difference between the steel and aluminum? Be quantitative.

4. Obtain the true stress vs true strain curve for the steel specimen using the load vs

extensometer strain data. Show your equations for determining these quantities. Plot this

data for the region where this calculation is valid. On the same graph, plot engineering stress

versus engineering strain. Do the graphs deviate? Explain why.

5. Mark in red on the strain axis on your graphs the two areas for the steel sample where the

specimen’s cross sectional area is not the same along the entire gage length of the bar. Mark

this area in the aluminum bar. Is the stress the same at every cross section along the length of

the bar in these strain regions? Comment.

6. State something you have learned about tensile testing that is not discussed in the lab

handout.

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EXPERIMENT 1 MECHANICAL TESTING-- TENSILE TEST

Keep a copy of your answers to use when doing the lab and lab report.

Read Gere and Goodno, Mechanics of Materials chapter 1

Name:____________________________________ Lab Date:______________

1. Does a steel stress strain curve differ from an aluminum curve? How? Which material stores the

most elastic energy for a given stress? For a given strain?

2. Why do we put an extensometer on the sample rather than just use the extension of the frame of

the MTS as recorded in Test Works? Is the use of the extensometer important in measuring the elastic

modulus? If the load-frame is considered as a large spring what must be measured to find the spring

constant?

3. Assume you are specifying aluminum wires to be used in construction. What load could the wire

support if its area was 0.035 inches squared? Explain why. Where is your data from? Hint: Look in an

Appendix H of your ME 226 textbook table 3 page 993 in Mechanics of Materials.

4. For an annealed 1018 steel sample, the ultimate or tensile strength is approximately 45 ksi. For a

specimen with a length of 2.5" and a diameter of 0.399" calculate the maximum load you would expect

to have to apply to fracture the sample. Also, for 10 % strain estimate the elongation the sample would

experience. Use these to determine a load cell range and a cross-head rate to use for tensile testing such

a specimen. The test should take about 10 minutes. Explain and in particular calculate how long the

tensile test would take for the given cross-head rate if the sample broke at 10% strain. Note that these

are the approximate properties and dimensions for your test specimens. Does the machine compliance

play any role in your estimates? How? MTS machines are often found to be 3 times more compliant

than the test bars.

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