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CANTILEVER FLEX EXPERIMENT

Group members:
Itzam Ochoa
Nadia Gargum
Gnagliga koukoura
Yvenel Clermont

Strength of Materials
Date performed:
11/09/2010
Date of submittal:
11//2010

A. Abstract:
The following experiment utilizes a cantilever test fixture, strain

gages, and basic principles of Mechanics of Materials to determine

both theoretical and actual stress along a cantilever beam. Since all

materials experience some type of deformation when external

forces act upon them, it is important to understand the behavior

and limitations of these materials. After comparing our

experimental results to the predicted theoretical strains, we noticed

that the data had similar correlations, but they were not exact.

There were some varying percent errors between the experimental

and theoretical data. This could be due to the natural behavior of

metals in real life in comparison to the predicted behavior derived

from formulas.

B. Introduction:
In this experiment we will be testing the strain in an aluminum bar

versus the elongation. We will compare the experimental strain to

the theoretical strain. From the data collected we will be able to

compare the two strains and see how they relate to each other. This

experiment is important because it allows us to see the difference

between real world results and theoretical results that represent

unattainable perfect conditions.

C. Technical discussion:
The longitudinal strain is given by where M is

M
εL = y
EI

the bending moment at the strain gage locations. M = -P(L-a),

where P is the force at the load introduction point calculated from

the deflection, . I is the moment of inertia of the


3EIδ
P= 3
L

cross section, . Y is the distance from the neutral


3
bh
I=
12

axis to the beam surface. For the homogenous beam with

rectangular cross section, with surface mounted strain gages

considered here, y = h/2.


εδ
Substitution of these equations gives: .
3h( L − a)
L = 3
2L

From this equation we can find the theoretical strain and later

compare it to the experimental strain.

The Flexor Cantilever Flexure Frame is used to hold the bar to

perform the experiment. The Loading Screw is used to apply the

load for the desired elongations and the Micrometer is used to

measure the elongation. The Strain Gauge is used to measure the

strain in the bar. The P3 Strain Indicator and Recorder is used to

read the signals from the Strain Gauge and display the strains.

D. Experimental procedure:
• Equipment :

• Cantilever flexure frame: A simple apparatus to hold a

rectangular beam at one end while allowing flexing of the

specimen upon the addition of a downward force.

• Metal beam: In this experiment, aluminum was tested. The beam

should be fairly rectangular, thin, and long. Specific dimensions

are dependant to the size of the cantilever flexure frame and

available weights.

• Strain indicator: Any equivalent device that accurately translates

to the output of strain gages into units of strain.

• Two strain gages.


• Micrometers and calipers.

• Setup :

• The specimen should be secured in the flexure frame such that

an applied force can be placed opposite of the securing end of

the fixture. Three strain gages should be mounted such that the

long metal traces run parallel to the length of the beam. The

center of the three gages should be mounted one inch, four

inches, and seven inches from the end of the clamp in the

fixture.

• Study the surface strains induced in a cantilever beam as a

function of beam deflection, as specified in the following:

• (1) Measure beam thickness and position on beam of gages

(ε L ,ε T ) and of micrometer loading point. Clamp the beam in the

loading frame.

• (2) Connect ε L,ε T and dummy gage to switch and balancing

unit. Connect switch and balancing unit to strain Gage Bridge.

• (3) Remove all deflection from the beam, adjust zero on switch

and balancing unit (both channels) with bridge set at some

convenient zero level.

• (4) Deflect beam, using micrometer, an amount y = 3 mm., read

the resulting Strains for ε L and ε T and record data.


• (5) Continue to deflect beam in steps of 3 mm., up to a total

deflection of 15 mm., each time read ε L and ε T gages and

record data.

• (6) Reduce beam deflection in steps of 3 mm., each time reading

ε L and ε T and recording data, until beam is completely

unloaded.

A. Data reduction procedure:

Equation 2
Y is the distance measured from the neutral axis to the point under
consideration. For a simple cantilever setup, this is expressed as
y= t/2

Equation 3
Where t is the thickness of the beam. I, is the centroidal moment of
inertia for the beam. This is expressed as:
I= bt3/12

B. Results and discussion:


C. Conclusions:
The significance of this experiment is being able to compare strains

measured in the experiment with the theoretical strains computed

using the longitudinal strain formula. In our data, the theoretical

strains were slightly larger than the ones measured. This error

could be partially because the computed maximum allowable

deflection in the bar is 15.87mm and we used 15mm to determine

5x3mm increments. The bar we used for the experiment has also

been used and could potentially already be slightly deformed. The

bar could have imperfections we don’t know about that could also

affect the data. Perhaps more trials of this experiment would result

in better relations between the experimental and theoretical values

for the elongations. With multiple trials the results can be averaged

which overlooks errors in single trial experiments.

D. References:

E. Appendix: