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1
Strain Measurements
• Module goals…
– Introduce students to operatingprinciples behind straingauges Introduce students to operating principles behind strain gauges
– Discuss practical issues regarding strain gauge installation and
usage.
– Understand how bridge circuits are used to determine changes
in gauge resistance  and hence, strain.
Prof. Sailor
Experimental Stress Analysis
• Reasons for Experimental Stress Analysis
– Material characterization Material characterization
– Failure analysis
– Residual or assembly stress measurement
– Acceptance testing of parts prior to delivery or use
• Some Techniques
– Photoelasticity
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Photoelasticity
– Noncontact holographic interferometry
– Electrical Resistance Strain Gauges
2/12/2010
2
Stress vs. Strain
• Strain (c) is a measure of displacement usually in terms of micro
strain such as microinches of elongation for each inch of specimen
length.
• Stress (o) is a measure of loading in terms of load per unit cross
sectional area
• Stress and strain are related by a material property known as the
Young’s modulus (or modulus of elasticity) E.
E
Prof. Sailor
E c o =
Young’s Modulus
Material E (GPa) E (kpsi)
Aluminum 69 10,000
Steel 200 29,000
Plastics 13 150450
Prof. Sailor
2/12/2010
3
Strain Defined
• Strain is defined as relative elongation in a particular
direction direction
c
a
=dL/L (axial strain)
c
t
=dD/D (transverse strain)
L
D
T
Prof. Sailor
µ =c
t
/ c
a
(Poisson’s ratio)
T
Poisson’s Ratio (µ)
• Copper 0.330.37 pp
• Aluminum 0.33
• Steel 0.280.30
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Strain gauges
• The electrical resistance of a conductor changes when it
is subjected to a mechanical deformation is subjected to a mechanical deformation
T
T
Prof. Sailor
T
T
R
before
<R
after
Resistance = f(A…)
• Electrical Resistance (R) is a function of…
µ the resistivity of the material (Ohms*m) µ y ( )
L the length of the conductor (m)
A the crosssectional area of the conductor (m
2
)
• R=µ* L/A
• Note R increases with
Prof. Sailor
– Increased material resistivity
– Increased length of conductor (wire)
– Decreased crosssectional area (or diameter)
– Increased temperatures (can bias results if not accounted
for)
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5
Deriving the Gauge Factor (GF)
• Since L and A both change as a wire is stretched it is reasonable to
think that we can rewrite the equation
R= R=µµ* L/A * L/A
to relate strain to changes in resistance.
• Start with the differential:
dR =d dR =d µµ* (L/A ) + * (L/A ) +µ µd(L/A) d(L/A)
expanding with the chain rule again one gets:
dR =d dR =d µµ* (L/A ) + * (L/A ) +µ/A µ/Ad(L)+ d(L)+µµ*L*( *L*(1/A 1/A
22
)*d(A) )*d(A)
• Divide left side by R and right side by equivalent (µ* L/A ) to get:
Prof. Sailor
A
dA
L
dL d
R
dR
÷ + =
µ
µ
…substituting into the equation
t
D
dD dA
dD
D
dA
D
A c t t 2 2
A
or ,
2
) 2 ( so ,
2
2
= = 
.

\

= 
.

\

=
t a a
d
L
dL
c c
µ
µ
c 2
R
dR
so , also, ÷ + = =
Noting the definition of Poisson’s ratio: µ =c
t
/ c
a
…
µ
µ
c
µ
c µ
µ
µ c
d d
R
dR
a
a
1
2 1
R
dR
GF or , ) 2 1 (
a
+ + = ÷ + ÷ =
Prof. Sailor
µ µ
a a
Sometimes, we simplify this as:
µ 2 1+ ~ GF
Often small…
2/12/2010
6
Gauge wire material selection
• There are four primary alloys used in strain gauge
fabrication: fabrication:
– Constantan is a coppernickel alloy and the most commonly
used alloy used for strain gauge matrices.
– Annealed Constantan alloy is used when large strains, usually
over 5%, are expected.
– Isoelastic alloy is used for dynamic strain measurements and
cyclic loading applications. Gauges that use isoelastic alloys
have a larger gauge factor thangeneral purpose gauges and have a larger gauge factor than general purpose gauges, and
provide a larger signal to noise ratio.
– Karma alloy gauges are extremely stable over time and are
appropriate for long term monitoring applications.
Prof. Sailor
Using Gauge Factors with Strain Gauges
R
a
A
=
1
c
So, the axial strain is given by …
R GF
a
c
In most applications AR and c are very small and so we use
sensitive circuitry (amplified and filtered bridge circuit)
contained within a strain strain indicator indicator box to read out directly in
unitsof micro strain Obviouslythisstrain indicator will require
Prof. Sailor
units of microstrain. Obviously this strainindicator will require
both R (gauge nominal resistance) and GF (gauge factor)
2/12/2010
7
Typical Strain Gauge
Strainrelief wires
Solder terminals
for lead wires
Prof. Sailor
Why redundant wires? (discussed later)
Steps for Installing Stain Gauges
• Clean specimen – degreaser
• Chemically prepare gauge area Wet abrading with M • Chemically prepare gauge area – Wet abrading with M
Prep Conditioner and Neutralizer
• Mount gauge and strain relief terminals on tape, align on
specimen and apply adhesive
• Solder wire connections
• Test
Prof. Sailor
– Measure no load resistance of gauge +lead wires (should be
120.0 <R <120.1
• Connect to bridge circuit
– Be sure to record each resistance in the bridge
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8
Beam Loading Example
P
x
Beam length, L
P
x
a
Displacement, v(x)
strain gage at
x =b
h
Prof. Sailor
w
h
Measuring Strain with a Bridge Circuit
• A quarterbridge circuit is one in
which a simple Wheatstone bridge is
usedand one of the resistors is used and one of the resistors is
replaced with a strain gauge.
• V
o
may still be small such that
amplification (Amp>1.0) is usually
desirable
GF V
V
Amp
ex
o
1 4
~ c
Prof. Sailor
• Note: V
o
and V
ex
are also sometimes
labeled as E
o
and E
i
(or E
ex
)
p
ex
Nonlinear term, typically
near unity!
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Can we ignore the nonlinear term?
• Suppose GF =2.0 and c =0.0005
(500 microstrain)
If th i lifi d ti • If we use the simplified equation:
• If we use the total equation:
 
0002499 . 0
9995 . 0 00025 . 0
0005 . 0 1
1
4
0005 . 0 2
2
1
1
4
=
=
(
¸
(
¸
+
·
÷ =
(
(
(
¸
(
¸
· +
·
÷ =
c
c
GF
GF
V
V
EX
o
Prof. Sailor
• As we are typically solving for c it is
helpful to ignore the nonlinear term.
Nonlinear term, typically
near unity!
00025 . 0
4
0005 . 0 2
4
=
·
÷ =
·
÷ =
c GF
V
V
EX
o
Current (i) Limitations
• In general gauges cannot handle large currents
• The current through the gauge will be driven by the • The current through the gauge will be driven by the
voltage potential across it.
• Note: Text denotes the excitation voltage as V
i
. It is
also often labeled V
e
or V
ex
.
V V
Prof. Sailor
3
R R
V
R
V
i
G
Ex
G
G
G
+
= =
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Measuring Strain with a StrainIndicator
• First install a strain gauge
• Connect the wires fromthe strain gauge to the strain Connect the wires from the strain gauge to the strain
indicator.
• Apply loading conditions
• Read strain from strain indicator
– Note that the indicator always displays 4 digits and reads in
microstrain!
– Thus, 0017 means 17 microinches / inch of strain.
Prof. Sailor
Strain gauge bridge issues
• What if lead wires need to be rather long?
• What if surface temperature (and hence gauge
resistance) fluctuates independent of loads?
• How can we amplify the strain gauge signal we get
from a loaded beam?
Prof. Sailor
2/12/2010
11
What happens if the lead wires are long?
• We start with 3 precision 120 Ohm resistors for our bridge and a 120
Ohm strain gauge. g g
• Suppose the lead wires to the gauge are rather long. Perhaps each
lead wire adds 2 Ohms to the circuit.
• R
1
=R
2
=R
3
=120 Ohm, but R
4
(gauge) =124 Ohms and the bridge
is too far out of balance.
Prof. Sailor
How does a 3wire configuration work?
• If the lead wires are long (say 2 Ohms each), but we add a 3
rd
g ( y )
(redundant) wire as shown above… the strain gauge leg resistance
is increased by only 2 Ohms… but the R
3
leg of the bridge is ALSO
increased by 2 Ohms.
• As a result, the bridge remains balanced!
2/12/2010
12
What if the test surface is hot (or has varying
temperature)?
• If the surface is hot the resistance of the strain gauge will increase
and the bridge is out of balance.
• A second (dummy) gauge is mounted transverse to the major strain
direction. It’s resistance changes ONLY in response to the surface
temperature changes. Thus, it compensates the lower arm
resistance to match the temperatureinduced resistance change of
the upper arm of the bridge.
How can we amplify the strain gauge signal?
• If the gauge is measuring strain of a cantilever beam in tension, a
second gauge can be mounted on the underside (compression) of
the beam and wired into a halfbridge circuit to essentially double
the signal.
2
: bridge half gauge dual a In
4
: bridge quarter gauge single a In
c
c
· ·
=
· ·
=
GF V
V
GF V
V
ex
o
ex
o
2/12/2010
13
Theoretical Determination of Strain in a
Loaded Cantilever Beam
• You must either know the load P or the displacement (v)
• Determine displacement (v) at x=a
( ) • Knowing beam dimensions and material (and hence EI) estimate the load P
• Calculate stress at location of gauge
• Calculate c from o=cE
3
2
3 P so ,
6
) 3 (
a
EI
EI
x a Px v
v =
÷ ÷
=
thickness beam h where ,
2 / * *
= = =
I
h b P
I
My
o
3
h
Prof. Sailor
Beamlength, L
P
x
a
Displacement, v(x)
strain gageat
x =b
12
3
h w
I
·
=
w
h
Strain Gauge Vibration Experiment Notes:
Cantilever Beam Damping
( ) t Ce t Y
t
n
e
,e
sin ) (
÷
=
When the cantilever beam is “plucked” it will respond as a damped 2
nd
order
system. The amplitude of vibration has the general form:
( ) t Ce t Y
d
e sin ) ( =
e
d
= e
n
1÷,
2
Where the damped frequency (what you measure) is related to the natural frequency
(e
n
) by:
The damping ratio (zeta) can be determined by plotting the natural log of the
amplitude/magnitude (M) vs time:
Prof. Sailor
t C M Ce t M
n
t
n
· ÷ + = =
÷
) ( ) ln( so, ) (
2
,e
,e
So, the slope of the plot of ln(M) vs. t is (– , e
n
)
0.1
0.08
0.06
0.04
0.02
0
0.02
0.04
0.06
0 2 4 6 8 10 12
Ti me (s)
A
m
p
l
i
t
u
d
e
(
r
a
w
v
o
l
t
a
g
e
)
2/12/2010
14
Damped vs. Natural Frequency
The damped frequency (what you measure) is related to the natural
frequency (e
n
) by:
e
d
= e
n
1÷,
2
Since the damping ratio is a number greater than zero the damped frequency will
be SMALLER than the natural frequency.
Little damping More damping
Additional Considerations for natural
frequency of “plucked” beams
• Note: Unless otherwise indicated, natural frequencies are expressed
in terms of radians/sec.
• The natural frequency of a uniform beam is given by:
• E is the modulus of elasticity, I is the moment of intertia about the
centroid of the beam crosssection (wh
3
/12), m’ is the mass per unit
lengthof the beam(ie kg/m) andL is the cantileveredbeamlength
4
2
'
) 875 . 1 (
L m
EI
n
= e
Prof. Sailor
length of the beam (ie kg/m), and L is the cantilevered beam length
• If the beam is not uniform…
– A mass at the end can be represented as an effective change in beam
mass per unit length
– A hole in the end can be accounted for in a similar fashion…
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