Effectiveness and quality of materials used in manufacturing play a crucial role in bringing about marketplace success. Tensile tests help determine the effectiveness and behavior of a material when a stretching force acts on it. These tests are done under optimum temperature and pressure conditions and determine the maximum strength or load that the material can withstand. Many materials -- such as paper, elastic materials, composites, fabrics and materials used in spacecraft -- undergo tensile tests.


Tensile or tension testing is one of the basic mechanical tests performed on a material. The scientists conduct these by applying stress on the material and measuring the reaction of the material to the forces applied on it. The pull applied on the material causes the material to elongate. The scientists measure the strength of the material and its elongation. When the material can no longer withstand the stress applied on it, it causes failure or excessive deformity.


The results of tensile tests reveal information about the mechanical properties of the material. Pulling the material until it breaks helps obtain the material's complete tensile profile. The resulting curve displays the reaction of the material to the various forces applied on it. The breakage point is the ultimate strength, or UTS, of the material. The resulting chart indicates the UTS of the material too. Analysis of the material under forces of elongation through stress-to-strain charts reveals many characteristics of the material and helps in predicting the material’s behavior.


In the initial portion of the test, most of the materials exhibit a linear relationship with the forces applied on it. This linear relationship between the stress applied and elongation represents Hooke’s law. The ratio of force-to-elongation is Young’s modulus of the material. Apart from Young’s modulus, the tensile tests also provide the maximum load on the material, the deflection at the maximum load, stiffness of the material and the load at UTS.


Tensile tests provide better information about the test material and thus help keep up the material quality. They also help with development of new materials. These tests provide information about the mechanical properties of the material. The results of the tests help the material suppliers understand the material quality. The results also help with certification purposes.