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Yield Point, Upper and Lower

What describes the yield point?

The yield point Re (yield strength) is a material characteristic value and is determined using tensile testing (e.g. standard series ISO 6892 (for metallic materials) or standard series ISO 527 (for plastics and composites)). The yield point is specified in MPa (megapascal) or N/mm².

Often an upper yield point ReH and a lower yield point ReL can be determined.

The upper yield point designates the stress up to which no permanent plastic deformation occurs in a material under tensile loading. The material does undergo deformation, however after withdrawal of the tensile stress it returns to its original form. If the upper yield point is exceeded, the plastic or permanent deformation begins; in tensile testing the specimen is irreversibly elongated.

The yield point ratio can be calculated from the yield point Re and the tensile strength Rm
Re / Rm

The yield point ratio is a measurement of the strain hardening up to the tensile strength. The yield point ratio thus indicates how much tensile stress margin is available in a design/construction until the failure of the material clearly sets in.

Often, the yield point of materials is not pronounced and therefore cannot be clearly determined in the tensile test. In these cases, the offset yield is determined. As a rule, the offset yield is determined at 0.2% plastic elongation, hence the designation of the characteristic value with Rp 0,2.

Upper Yield Point ReH

The highest stress value before its significant first drop is designated as the upper yield point ReH. At this point the material undergoes plastic deformation. If the yield point is very pronounced, the material begins to flow, whereby the stress decreases slightly, but the elongation continues to increase. The lowest tensile stress during flow corresponds to the lower yield point ReL. This effect occurs exclusively on steel with little or no alloy.

The upper yield point is the highest tensile stress before flow and is defined by the metal tensile standard ISO 6892-1 as follows: After reaching the stress maximum, there must be a stress reduction of at least 0.5% and a subsequent flow of at least 0.05% without the tensile stress exceeding the upper yield point again.

Calculating the Upper Yield Point

The upper yield point ReH is determined from the stress strain diagram resulting from the tensile test:

Upper yield point ReH = maximum force at the upper yield point FeH / initial specimen cross section S0

Lower Yield Point ReL

The lower yield point ReL is the lowest stress value in the flow range of the material following the upper yield point ReH, whereby transient oscillation occurrences (e.g. due to a change in force) may not be taken into account.

In a case where the upper yield point is not recognized (the reduction in force is less than 0.5%) or yielding occurs at a fairly constant force over a larger range, this stress value is generally referred to as just yield point Re.

Calculating the Lower Yield Point

The lower yield point ReL is determined from the stress strain diagram resulting from the tensile test: 

Lower yield point ReL = force at the lower yield point FeL / initial specimen cross section S0

What is the Minimum Yield Strength?

The minimum yield strength is, on one hand, the value for the minimum yield strength which is stably reached or exceeded for a specific material with the appropriate heat treatment. On the other hand, it is a maximum tensile stress value which must be taken as a basis for the design of components and supporting structures so that permanent deformation in the intended use of the components and supporting structures can be safely avoided.

For the material supplier, the minimum yield strength therefore becomes the minimum value that must be achieved, and for the material user the maximum value that must not be exceeded during design.

How Does the Yield Point Apply to Steel?

The yield point indicates the end of the elastic behavior of the material and the start of the plastic behavior. This means that if the yield point is exceeded, the material is irreversibly, or in other words permanently, plastically deformed.

As a rule, components and constructions can no longer be used safely if the yield point is exceeded even locally or partially.

What is the Offset Yield Rp0.2?

The offset yield Rp0.2 is the tensile stress in a uniaxial tensile test, in which the plastic elongation corresponds to a percentage of the extensometer measurement length of 0.2%.

Cold-rolled or cold formed materials do not have a pronounced yield point. Generally for these materials an offset yield of 0.2 % (Rp0,2) is determined and specified. This 0.2 % offset yield can always be clearly determined from the stress-strain diagram (which is not always the case for an upper yield point).

The 0.2 % offset yield is the stress whereby the specimen experienced plastic, or in other words irreversible, elongation of 0.2 % (relative to the initial length of the specimen).

Additional Information on Tensile Tests

Tensile strength
Maximum mechanical tensile stress
to Tensile strength
Tensile Test to Tensile Test
Tensile test on metals
ISO 6892-1
to Tensile test on metals
Tensile Tests on Plastics
ISO 527-1, ISO 527-2
to Tensile Tests on Plastics

Testing Machines for Determination of the Yield Point