What is Tensile Strength?

First I think it is necessary to remember what tension is:

What is tension?

We call tension the value of the distribution of forces per area around a material point within a continuous body or medium. See example below:
O que é tensão - equivalência com a força

Note that the figure on the right is equivalent to that of the middle figure.

Tensile Strength

σ stress, also known as tensile strength, is defined by the ratio:
Calculo do limite de resistência a tração

where F is the instantaneous force or load applied in an orthogonal direction to the straight section (Ao). When it represents the area of the original section (before the application of force).

After the strain, the stress used to continue the plastic deformation process increases until it reaches its maximum value (point M).  See figure below:
Gráfico do limite de resistência a tração

From this point on the stress decreases until the material fails or breaks up (point F).

This is due to the rapid decrease of the resistant section when exceeding the tensile strength limit (maximum stress).

Tensile strength limit

The tensile strength limit "TS", is the stress at the "highest " point of the stress/engineering strain curve. In other words it is the maximum stress that can be sustained by a material under tension.
Gráfico do limite de resistência a tração

The deformation to point M is uniform along the region of the material under traction.

However, after this maximum tension, a small constriction begins to form, and all deformation after this point becomes "easier"because it reduces the resistant area and creates a stress concentrator in this region.

The name of this phenomenon is necking and disruption occurs in this region.

The tension applied at the time of fracture is called fracture resistance of the material. Note that fracture stress is NOT the same thing as Tensile Strength.

Tensile strength is used by engineers (along with the yield limit) unlike fracture stress that is restricted to research.

Typical tensile strength values

Tensile strength limits can range from 50 MPa (aluminum) to 3000 MPa (high strength steels).


Who is Gelson Luz anyway?

Gelson Luz is a Mechanical Engineer, expert in welding and passionate about materials. Search for "Gelson Luz" in your favorite browser to learn more.

Materials: What is Tensile Strength?
What is Tensile Strength?
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