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Tensile strength Rm

The tensile strength Rm (also tearing strength) is a material characteristic value for the evaluation of strength behavior. The tensile strength is the maximum mechanical tensile stress with which a specimen can be loaded. If the tensile strength is exceeded, the material fails: the absorption of forces decreases until the material specimen ultimately tears. The material however undergoes plastic deformation (residual) before reaching the actual tensile strength value.

Calculation Different materials Levels of hardening Additional characteristic values Examples Testing machines Tensile test Yield point

How is the tensile strength calculated?

The tensile strength Rm is determined with a tensile test (e.g. in accordance with the ISO 6892 series of standards (for metallic materials), or the ISO 527 series of standards (for plastics and composites)).

The tensile strength is calculated from the maximum achieved tensile force Fm and the specimen cross-sectional area at the start of the test:
Tensile strength Rm = maximum tensile force Fm / specimen cross-sectional area S0

The tensile strength is specified in MPa (megapascal) or N/mm².

In the stress-strain diagram (also stress-strain curve), the tensile stress of the specimen is plotted over its relative change in length in the tensile test.

This curve can be used to determine the different characteristic values for the material to be tested; for example, the elastic behavior or the tensile strength. In the stress-strain diagram, the tensile strength is the maximum stress value reached in the tensile test after renewed increase of the tensile stress.

Tensile Strength for Different Materials

The image on the right shows examples of different materials with their various curves and tensile strengths Rm in a stress-strain diagram.

Tensile strength with different material hardening

For metallic materials with a pronounced yield point the maximum tensile force is defined as the highest reached force after the upper yield strength. The maximum tensile force after exceeding the yield point can also lie below the yield point for weakly work-hardened materials, therefore the tensile strength in this case is lower than the value for the upper yield point.

The stress strain curve image to the right shows a curve with a high level of work-hardening (1) and with a very low level of work-hardening (2) after the yield point.

For plastics with yield point and subsequent stress, on the other hand, the tensile strength corresponds to the stress at the yield point.

Additional Characteristic Values for the Evaluation of Strength Properties

For the evaluation of strength properties, upper and lower yield points, as well as breaking strength or tear strength are determined in addition to the tensile strength.

Yield point is generally defined as the stress at the transition from elastic to plastic deformation. It is the generic term for elastic limit, upper and lower yield strength (tensile test), compressive yield strength (compression test), flexural yield strength (flexure test) or torsional yield strength (torsion test).

Offset yield points, on the other hand, are stresses that already include a certain residual or total elongation. They are used with metallic materials to mark the continuous transition from the elastic to the plastic range.

The term yield point (also called yield stress) is commonly used in rheology and describes the stress value from which the material starts to flow (especially for plastics). Flow is characterized by plastic, or irreversible, deformation of the material when the yield point is exceeded.

For many materials, after the maximum force Fm has been reached, the force and thereby the nominal tensile stress decrease with increasing elongation, until the specimen breaks or tears. The breaking force related to the initial cross sectional area is also called breaking strength or tear strength. It is an important parameter especially for plastics. In the case of brittle metallic materials, elastomers and tough plastics without yield point, the tear strength generally corresponds to the tensile strength.

Example Values for the Tensile Strength of Metallic Materials

Tensile strength values of metallic materials - examples
Material mane Material No. Old designation Rm Rp0.2
S235JR 1.0037 St37-2 360 235
S275JR 1.0044 St44-2 430 275
S355J2G3 1.0570 St52-3N 510 355
C22E 1.1151 Ck22 500 340
28Mn6 1.1170 28Mn6 800 590
C60E 1.1221 850 580
X20Cr13 1.4021 750 550
X17CrNi16-2 1.4057 750 550
X5CrNi18-10 1.4301 V2A 520 210
X2CrNiMo17-12-2 1.4404 V4A 520 220
X2CrNiMoN17-13-3 1.4429 580 295
30CrNiMo8 1.6580 1250 1050
34CrMo4 1.7220 34CrMo4 1000 800
42CrMo4 1.7225 1100 900
S420N 1.8902 StE420 520 420

Testing Machines for Determination of the Tensile Strength

Additional Information on Tensile Tests

Yield Point
The end of the elastic behavior
to Yield Point
Tensile test
to Tensile test
Tensile test on metals
ISO 6892-1
to Tensile test on metals
Tensile test on metals
to Tensile test on metals
Tensile tests on plastics
ISO 527-1, ISO 527-2
to Tensile tests on plastics
Tensile tests on plastics
to Tensile tests on plastics

Frequently asked questions about tensile strength

Tensile strength refers to the maximum tensile stress a material can withstand before permanent deformation or fracture occurs. The tensile strength is therefore an important material characteristic value for the evaluation of the strength behavior of a material. The higher the tensile strength of a material, the more resistant it is to tensile forces.

Tensile strength is normally measured in megapascals (Mpa) or newtons per square millimeter (N/mm²). It indicates how much force per unit area is required to stretch or tear a material.

The tensile strength is calculated from the maximum achieved tensile force Fm and the specimen cross-sectional area at the start of the test:
Tensile strength Rm = maximum tensile force Fm / specimen cross-sectional area S0

The tensile strength is specified in MPa (megapascal) or N/mm².