Flexural Strength Testing

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Flexural strength, also known as modulus of rupture or bend strength, is a mechanical parameter for brittle material and is defined as a material's ability to resist deformation under load. The flexural strength would be the same as the tensile strength if the material were uniform.

With ever increasing demand for high quality and reliable components and materials, flexural tests have become an important test method in both the manufacturing process and research and development to define a material’s ability to resist deformation under load. A component’s or material’s flexural strength provides critical insight into the modulus of elasticity in bending, flexural stress and flexural strain.

The increasing popularity of human interface devices such as touch screens means that everyday devices such as cell phones are subjected to many cycles of flexing during normal use. Manufacturers are committed to ensuring products do not fail within their planned lifetime and of guaranteeing performance across a wide range of scenarios.

Flexural testing is used to determine the flex or bending properties of a material. Sometimes referred to as a transverse beam test, it involves placing a sample between two points or supports and initiating a load using a third point or with two points which are respectively called 3 Point Bend and 4 Point Bend testing.

The three-point bending flexural test provides values for the response of the material. The main advantage of a three point flexural test is the ease of the specimen preparation and testing. However, this method has also some disadvantages: the results of the testing method are sensitive to specimen and loading geometry and strain rate.

The 4 point flexure fixture produces peak stresses along an extended region of the specimen hence exposing a larger length of the specimen with more potential for defects and flaws to be highlighted.

Maximum stress and strain are calculated on the incremental load applied. Results are shown in a graphical format with tabular results including the flexural strength (for fractured samples) and the yield strength (samples that did not fracture). Typical materials tested are plastics, composites, metals, ceramics, and wood.

ASTM C1674 - 11 Standard Test Method for Flexural Strength of Advanced Ceramics with Engineered Porosity (Honeycomb Cellular Channels) at Ambient Temperatures
ASTM C293 / C293M - 10 Standard Test Method for Flexural Strength of Concrete (Using Simple Beam With Center-Point Loading)
ASTM D1184 - 98(2012) Standard Test Method for Flexural Strength of Adhesive Bonded Laminated Assemblies
ASTM D790 - 10 Standard Test Methods for Flexural Properties of Unreinforced and Reinforced Plastics and Electrical Insulating Materials