Shear Strength Testing

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Shear strength is a material's ability to resist forces that attempt to cause it to become permanently deformed by sliding against itself. Too much shear strain can cause a component such as a spring to break.

Shear testing is performed to determine the shear strength of a material. It measures the maximum shear stress that may be sustained before a material will rupture. Shear testing is commonly used with adhesives and can be used in either a tensile or comprehensive method. Shear is typically reported as MPa (psi) based on the area of the sheared edge.

Shear strength is particularly important in film and sheet products where failures from this type load may often occur. For the design of molded and extruded products it would seldom be a factor. Plastic sheets or molded plastic discs measuring 0.005 to 0.500 in. thick are used in the test. ASTM D-732

Shear testing differs from tensile and compressions testing because the forces applied are parallel to the upper and lower faces of the object under test. Materials behave differently in shear than in tension or compression causing different values for strength and stiffness.

Lap shear testing is performed to determine the shear strength of an adhesive that is applied to two metal plates and pulled to failure. It can be used to compare adhesive types or different lots within the same adhesive.


• ASTM D732 - 10 Standard Test Method for Shear Strength of Plastics by Punch Tool
• ASTM D198 - Standard Test Method of Static Tests of Lumber in Structural Sizes
• ASTM D1002 - Standard Test Method for Apparent Shear Strength of Single-Lap-Joint Adhesively Bonded Metal Specimens by Tension Loading (Metal-to Metal)
• ASTM D22955 - Standard Test Method for Strength Properties of Adhesives in Shear by Tension Loading at Elevated Temperatures (Metal-to-Metal)