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Name: Joel Alan S.
Status: Educator
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: June 2002

How is tensile strength measured, especially when measuring the strength of a spider web?

There are various devices for doing this type of measurement. These measurements are common in a wide range of research, engineering, and commercial applications. There are many configurations and variations that can be set, but they all involve clamping the test sample at the ends in some type of jaws -- the exact configuration of course depends upon whether you are measuring a fiber or pipe. Then the jaws, which are pulled (or pushed). The force (i.e. the stress) is measured as a function of the stretching or compression (i.e. the strain). The rate of movement of the jaws, the profile of the application of the stress as a function of time, temperature and all that can be programmed, depending upon the instrument and the measurement(s) that are desired. A common commercial machine is called an "Instron tester". You may find a web site for that "brand name" that will give you details.

Vince Calder

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