Tensile Load

Definition - What does Tensile Load mean?

Tensile Load is the ability of a material to withstand a pulling force. It is customarily measured in units of force per cross-sectional area. This is an important concept in engineering, especially in the fields of material science, mechanical engineering and structural engineering. The ability to resist breaking under tensile stress is one of the most important and widely measured properties of materials used in structural applications. Tensile load is important in the use of brittle materials more than ductile materials.

Petropedia explains Tensile Load

The tensile load of a material is the maximum amount of tensile stress that it can take before failure, such as breaking or permanent deformation. Tensile load specifies the point when a material goes from elastic to plastic deformation. It is expressed as the minimum tensile stress (force per unit area) needed to split the material apart.

Tensile load is a limit state of tensile stress that leads to tensile failure in one of two manners:

  • Ductile failure - yield as the first stage of failure, some hardening in the second stage and breakage after a possible "neck" formation.
  • Brittle failure - sudden breaking in two or more pieces at a low stress state.

Tensile load testing for a metal will determine how much a particular alloy will elongate before hitting ultimate tensile strength and how much load a particular piece of metal can accommodate before it loses structural integrity. Therefore, it is very important in material science. It is also vital for construction safety and personal safety, both during and after the building is completed.

Tensile load, along with elastic modulus and corrosion resistance, are important parameters of engineering materials that are used in structures and mechanical devices. Tensile load is specified for materials such as:

  • Alloys
  • Composite materials
  • Ceramics
  • Plastics
  • Wood

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