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Chapter 3 – Measurement of

Mechanical Properties
Pivotal Questions:
- How do I know how to measure properties?
- What properties can be measured and what do
they tell me?
- Will I get the same result every time I run a
specific test?
- Why do materials fail under stress?
- How do mechanical properties change over
ASTM Standards
 ASTM International
has compiled over
12,000 standards for
materials testing.
 Provide detailed
descriptions of testing
 Allow for comparison
of data from different
Tensile Testing
 Sample secured in fixed
 Upper clamp is attached to a
fixed bar and a load cell
 Lower clamp is attached to a
moveable bar that moves
downward slowly
 Force (measured by the load
cell) and elongation data are
used to calculate a series of
fundamental quantities.

Tensile Test
Engineering Stress and Strain
 Engineering Stress (s) is
calculated as
s = F/A0
where F is the applied load and
A0 is the initial cross-sectional
area of the sample.

 Engineering Strain (e) is

calculated as
e = (l – l0)/l0
Where l0 is the initial sample
Stress-Strain Curves
 Below the yield stress (sy),
elastic stretching occurs and the
material returns to its original
state when the stress is removed.

 Above the yield stress,

permanent plastic deformation

 The highest stress experienced is

the tensile strength (ss), while
the stress at which the material
finally fails is the breaking
strength (sB)
Brittle Materials
 Ductile materials can
experience plastic
deformation without failing,
but brittle materials cannot.

 The stress-strain curve for a

brittle material looks
different and the yield
strength, breaking strength,
and tensile strength are all
Other Quantities Obtained from
Tensile Tests
 Elastic Modulus (E) is the slope of the linear portion of the
stress-strain curve (E = Ds/De). The quantity is also called the
Tensile Modulus or Young’s Modulus.
 The elastic energy (eE) is the area beneath the elastic portion of
the stress strain curve and represents the amount of energy a
material can absorb without permanently deforming.
 The elastic energy is used to calculate the modulus of
resilience (Er), which determines how much energy will be lost
to deformation and how much will be translated to motion.
Er = eE /ey
Still more quantities
 Poisson’s ratio (m) relates the longitudinal
deformation (stretching) to the corresponding lateral
shrinking. Most materials have a Poisson’s ratio of
around 0.3.

 Ductility is the amount of deformation a material can

withstand without breaking. Two measures are used:
True Stress and Strain
 Accounts for the fact that the area changes as the
tensile test progresses. Often ignored because of the
complexity it adds to testing and its minimal impact
on properties of interest.
 Phenomena occurs when a dramatic reduction in
cross-sectional area occurs in a highly localized area
(like stretched chewing gum.

 Occurs in highly ductile materials like polymers and

soft metals

 Triggered at flaws either present during formation or

induced with the application of the tensile load
Off-set Yield Strength
 Used when the transition
between elastic stretching
and plastic deformation is
not clearly defined.
 A line is drawn with the
initial slope of the stress-
strain curve beginning at a
strain value of 0.002.
 The point at which the
straight line intersects the
stress strain curve is called
the off-set yield strength.
Compressive Testing
 Utilizes the same equipment
as tensile testing, but the
sample is pushed together
rather than pulled apart.
 Many materials display
similar tensile and
compressive properties, so
compressive tests are
performed only when the
materials is expected to
withstand large compressive
Modes of Deformation
Bend Testing

Bend Test
Flexural Strength and Modulus
 Flexural Strength (sF) is defined as

where Ff is the load at failure, L is the distance between

the bottom rollers, and h is the thickness of the
 Flexural Modulus (EF) is defined as

where d is the deflection experienced by the material

during bending.
Hardness Testing
 Hardness is the resistance of the surface of a material
to penetration by a static force
 Relates to wear resistance because harder materials
abrade softer ones
 There are dozens of techniques to measure hardness,
but all involve applying a static force to a hard object
and determining the amount of penetration in the
 The most common hardness test is the Brinell Test
Brinell Hardness Testing
 A static force is applied to a
10-mm diameter tungsten-
carbide sphere.
 The impression diameter (Di)
is measured and used to
calculate the Brinell
Hardness from the equation

Brinell Test
Relation between hardness scales
 The Brinell values can be
compared with other
common scales including
Rockwell and Moh using the
chart to the right

 In general, ceramics are

harder than metals which are
harder than polymers
Moh Hardness Scale
 Common scale that uses real minerals as integer points

 Non-linear distances between points

 Creep is the plastic deformation experienced by a
material subjected to a continuous stress over time.
 Most materials experience creep at elevated
 Dislocations are more likely to diffuse and propagate at
higher temperatures, making failure more likely
Creep Testing
Three stages of creep
 During Primary Creep
(stage 1), dislocations slip and
move around obstacles.
 During Secondary Creep
(stage 2), the rate of
dislocation propagation is
equal to the rate at which
they are blocked.
 During Tertiary Creep
(Stage 3), the rate of
deformation increases rapidly
and continues until rupture.
Creep Calculations
 Creep Rate is the change in slope of the stress-strain
curve at any point:

 The Larson-Miller Parameter is defined as

where T is the temperature in Kelvin, t is the time in

minutes, and A and B are material specific empirical
Impact Testing
 Toughness is the ability of a
material to withstand a blow
and is measured by an
impact test.
 A hammer with an initial
elevation h0 is situated on a
pendulum. When released it
passes through the sample
and finishes at a lower height
(hf )
 The impact energy is equal to
the loss of potential energy
eI = mg(h0 - hf ) Charpy Test
Sample orientation
 The sample used in an impact
test is rectangular with a
notch cut into one side.
 The difference between
impact tests lie in the
orientation of the sample:
(a) Izod Test – the sample is
aligned so the notch faces the
(b) Charpy Test – the sample
faces away from the hammer
Error and Reproducibility in
 Small differences in samples and
testing procedures will result in
random error

 The first step to deal with this

variation is to run multiple trials
and calculate the mean

 However, the two distributions

at the right have the same mean,
but are very different
 To more appropriately characterize the sample, a
statistical quantity called the variance (s2) is calculated
using the formula
Standard Deviation
The square root of the variance is called the standard
deviation, which provides more direct knowledge of
how far from the mean a random sample is likely to be
True vs calculated means
 Standard deviations can be used to make probability
statements about the calculated means using the

Where m-bar is the true mean that would be calculated

if infinite samples were tested, x-bar is the estimated
mean based on the number of samples tested and d is
a statistical quantity called the confidence limit or
error bar.
Confidence Limits (error bars)
 The size of the error bars or confidence limits depend
on the number of samples, the standard deviation, and
the desired level of confidence (for most applications,
95% confidence is standard)
 The error bars are determined by the equation

Where t is the value from the statistical t-table given in

Table 3-6.
Using the t-table
The axes on the table are
confusing. The F value across the
top is a complex function related
to the level of uncertainty (a) by
the eqn:
F = 1 - a/2

For 95% confidence, a = 0.05 and

F = 0.975

N is the degrees of freedom,

N = n – 1 where n is the number of
Comparing 2 sample sets
Fracture Mechanics
 All material failure results
from the formation and
propagation of a crack
 Ductile materials deform in
the area of the crack and
adapt to its presence.
 Failure in ductile materials
tends to be slow (and some
cracks may be stable) and
fails either in a cup-and-cone
mode (a) or in lateral shear
Brittle Materials
 Brittle materials cannot
undergo the plastic
deformation needed to
stabilize a crack without
 Small cracks propagate
spontaneously and result in
 Brittle materials form a
simple cleavage fracture
surface like the one shown on
the right
Stress Raisers
 The fundamental stress
equation s = F/A0 is based on
the assumption that the stress is
evenly distributed across the
entire cross-section.
 Cracks, voids, and other
imperfections serve as stress
raisers that cause highly
localized increases in stress
 The traditional stress is better
defined as the nominal stress
and the elevated stress at the
crack tip is the maximum stress
Stress Concentration Factor
 The stress concentration factor (k) is the ratio of the
maximum to the applied stress
 The magnitude of k depends on the geometry of the
 For an elliptical flaw (like the one shown)
k = (1 + 2a/b)
Stress Intensity Factor (K)
 For a thin crack in which a>>b, the stress at the crack
tip approaches infinity and the stress concentration
factor ceases to have meaning
 In such cases, a new parameter called the Stress
Intensity Factor (K) is employed
Crack Propagation
 A crack propagates when the stress intensity at the
crack tip exceeds a critical stress intensity factor called
the Fracture Toughness (Kc)
 The actual stress needed for crack propagation (sc) is
Plane strain fracture toughness
 Fracture toughness is a
function of thickness and
cannot be tabulated directly
 Above a critical thickness, the
thickness no longer matters.
 The fracture toughness above
the critical thickness is called
the Plane Strain Fracture
Toughness (KIC)
Applied Stress Modes
Opening Stresses act perpendicularly to the direction
of the crack
In-plane Shear involves the application of stress
parallel to the crack
Out-of-plane Shear results when stress perpendicular
to the crack pulls the top and bottom half in opposite
 Fatigue is the failure of a material when subjected to
repeated stresses below the yield strength.
 Fatigue is especially important in metals
 Goals
 Determine the number of cycles at a given stress level a
material can experience before failing (The Fatigue Life)
 Determine the stress level below which there is a 50% chance
that failure will never occur (The Endurance Limit)
Cantilever Beam Test
 A cylindrical shaped sample
is mounted in a vice at one
end and a weight or yoke at
the other
 A motor rotates the sample
producing alternating tensile
and compressive forces
 A counter records the
number of cycles until a
specimen fails
S-N Curves
 Multiple samples at different
stress levels are plotted to
form S-N curves (or Wohler
 The stress level at the
inflection point on the S-N
curve provides the endurance
 The fatigue life can be read
from the plot directly
Accelerated Aging Studies
 Properties of most materials change with prolonged
exposure to heat, light, and oxygen
 Companies cannot wait long enough to fully test the
time effects of these variable directly.
 Accelerated aging studies shorten the time horizon by
increasing the intensity of other variables
 Test use an equivalent property time (EPT) to simulate
the long term effects of exposure to the variable at
lower levels for longer times
 Behavior follows the Arrhenius Equation