Testing is a vital part of the production process for components used across all sectors. Selecting the correct testing method is particularly key for applications where a failure could put users at risk and it’s the only way to prove your product’s safety and reliability.

In this article, we compare two methods of mechanical testing in detail — tensile testing and compression testing — to give you a better understanding of their use cases and applications.

What Is a Tensile Test?

Tensile testing is mainly used to measure how much force is required to break or deform a material under tension-based loads. This testing type determines a component's critical mechanical properties, such as tensile strength, yield strength, elongation and modulus of elasticity. During a tensile test, the material will be placed under tension and monitored until it breaks.

The insights uncovered during tensile testing are then used by engineers when designing components and structures that need to withstand certain levels of loading or strain in tension-based applications, like when components are fastened together with bolts and screws or other fastening solutions.

What Is a Compression Test?

Compression testing measures how much force is needed to deform or compress a material under compression loads. During this test, the sample is placed into a compression testing machine, which applies a constant load until a pre-determined amount of defamation is reached, or the point of fracture.

Compression testing determines essential parameters such as compressive yield strength, ultimate compressive strength and modulus of elasticity. Engineers then call upon this data to ensure components used in compression applications, like bridge beams or columns, can withstand the levels of pressure required without breaking or becoming deformed.

When To Use a Tensile Testing Method Over a Compression Testing Method

Generally speaking, tensile tests are better suited for applications where tension forces are applied, while compression tests are more appropriate for applications with pressure forces involved.

Testing Standards for PEM® Self-Clinching Fasteners: Push-Out Testing and Tensile Testing

Regarding testing material factors of PEM® self-clinching fasteners, our engineers call upon two key testing methods: push-out testing (a variation of a compression test) and tensile testing. These two methods work hand in hand, with the push-out testing method measuring the strength of the self-clinching feature and the tensile test measuring fastening strength.

The fastening strength of PEM® self-clinching fasteners is a complex subject, but we have a global team of experienced engineers ready to provide expert assistance. We’re also proud to provide extensive testing capabilities across several international locations, which our customers are invited to use to get help with testing methods specific to their applications.

The Push-Out Testing Process

Tensile testing will determine a material's strength and ductility by measuring the force required to break it. In contrast, push-out testing measures the axial strength of the self-clinching feature in PEM® products.

Although the physical test set-up will vary depending on the product, the push-out test process generally stays the same. Before the test begins, self-clinching fasteners are installed into the sheet material. A force is then applied in the opposite direction of the installation force.

Operating at a relatively low speed (approximately 6.35mm/min), the test causes complete separation of the fastener from the sheet. The maximum force observed during the test is then reported as the push-out strength.

Engineers with experience in self-clinching fastener technology can gain a lot of insight and valuable information from a force vs. distance plot of a push-out test.

Who Benefits from PEMedge® Mechanical Testing Services?

Mechanical testing, including tensile and push-out testing of PEM®self-clinching fasteners, offers a host of benefits across a wide range of sectors. Those who benefit from undertaking these types of tests include:

Additionally, regularly conducting these types of tests during the production process makes it easier to identify any potential problems early on. With this foresight, engineers can address any complications quickly before they present more significant issues further down the line. 

Tensile and compression testing provides invaluable insight into how materials behave in tension-based applications or under compression loads, allowing manufacturers to ensure their products and components meet the required specifications for quality and safety.

Access the Full Suite of Dedicated PEMedge® Testing Services 

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