Firstly, we will look at the most common testing method – tensile testing.

In the tensile test, a test piece is extended, usually to fracture, with a gradually increasing uniaxial tensile load, to determine the resistance of the material to the force.

Typical test pieces are shown below. They are normally circular, but may be flat. The standard diameter is 12.5mm and the gauge length is typically 50mm. There are standards that cover tensile testing: ASTM Standards E 8 and E 8M and AS1391 (1991).