What is Tensile Strength?
The term tensile strength can be a confusing term for many. What is tensile strength? For one, it is not the strength of that shiny type of tensile that is commonly put on a Christmas tree. Tensile strength is how much stress a building material can take before it reaches its breaking point. Many materials have different stress points and certain types of materials are used for various building projects depending on the tensile strength of the product being used.
Tensile strengths can vary from material to material, for example steel has a higher tensile strength then wood for instance. How fast a building material fractures under certain types of stress determines the strength and flexibility of the product. Materials with higher tensile strength are better suited for building bridges or high rises. Materials with a lower tensile strength are generally used for fencing and furniture for example.
Composite materials are materials that are made up of organic materials. A good example of a composite material would be wood. These composite materials are made up of organic fibers. The one thing that makes composite materials unique is that they react differently then man made materials such as steel and plastic. Composite materials behave differently when cut at different angles, such as a piece of lumber. The organic material can experience compression and tension in different directions and the results of a tensile strength test can vary greatly.
There are three facets of tensile strength. These are broken down into three parts yield strength, ultimate strength and breaking strength. The yield strength is defined as the stress point at which a material starts to strain and chain due to the elastic deformation that causes the material to deform permanently. Ultimate strength is the maximum stress a material can take when it is exposed to tension, shearing or compression on the stress strain curve. The breaking strength of a material means that the stress coordinate that is on the stress strain curve when it reaches the point of a rupture. These factors help to determine the strength and flexibility of a material.
The tensile strength of materials can help many to determine what type of materials to use when building certain types of structures. For instance in the construction of a high rise, many different types of construction materials will be used together to help with the overall strength and flexibility of the structure. Certain types of materials with higher tensile strength are used in the construction of certain structures while materials with a lower tensile strength are used in the construction of structures that do not require a high stress rate. When building any type of structure it is important to keep in mind the tensile strength of the material being used.