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Tensile Testing of Polymer Matrix Composite Materials ASTM D3039, D3039M

ASTM D3039, D3039M


ASTM D3039 tensile testing is used to measure the force required to break a polymer composite specimen and the extent to which the specimen stretches or elongates to that breaking point. Tensile tests produce a stress-strain diagram, which is used to determine tensile modulus. The data is often used to specify a material, to design parts to withstand application force and as a quality control check of materials. Since the physical properties of many materials can vary depending on ambient temperature, it is sometimes appropriate to test materials at temperatures that simulate the intended end use environment.

Test Procedure:
Specimens are placed in the grips of a Universal Test Machine at a specified grip separation and pulled until failure. For ASTM D3039 the test speed can be determined by the material specification or time to failure (1 to 10 minutes). A typical test speed for standard test specimens is 2 mm/min (0.05 in/min). An extensometer or strain gauge is used to determine elongation and tensile modulus. Depending upon the reinforcement and type, testing in more than one orientation may be necessary.

Elevated or Reduced Temperature Test Procedure:
A thermal chamber is installed on a Universal Test Machine. The chamber is designed to allow the test mounts from the base and crosshead of the Universal Tester to pass through the top and bottom of the chamber. Standard test fixtures are installed inside the chamber, and testing is conducted inside the controlled thermal environment the same as it would be at ambient temperature. The chamber has internal electric heaters for elevated temperatures and uses external carbon dioxide gas as a coolant for reduced temperatures.

Specimen size:
The most common specimen for ASTM D3039 has a constant rectangular cross section, 25 mm (1 in) wide and 250 mm (10 mm) long. Optional tabs can be bonded to the ends of the specimen to prevent gripping damage. Intertek PTL can machine the specimens from larger samples and bond tabs if requested.

The following calculations can be made from tensile test results:
  1. Tensile strength (MPa or PSI)
  2. Tensile chord modulus of elasticity (MPA or PSI)
  3. Tensile strain (%)
  4. Poissonís ratio
  5. Transition Strain (%)

Equipment Used:
Universal Test Machine
Strain Gauges
Computerized Strain Gage Measuring System

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**Please note that this test description is intentionally generic in nature and aimed at providing a descriptive summary to enhance test understanding. For more information please contact a Intertek PTL Technical Representative at . Due to copyright restrictions, we are not able to provide copies of standards. Standards can be obtained from appropriate standards authorities.

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