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POSITIONING STRAIN GAGES

TO MONITOR BENDING, AXIAL, SHEAR, AND TORSIONAL LOADS

In the glossary to the Pressure


Reference Section, “strain” is defined Fv

as the ratio of the change in length to 1


the initial unstressed reference 3
length. A strain gage is the element L
h

that senses this change and converts


it into an electrical signal. This can be 4
2
3 4
Fv
b
accomplished because a strain gage
changes resistance as it is stretched, 1 h
or compressed, similar to wire. For Figure C - Bending Strain
45
example, when wire is stretched, its
cross-sectional area decreases; b
therefore, its resistance increases.
2
The important factors that must be 3 4 Figure E - Shear Strain
considered before selecting a strain
gage are the direction, type, and
Y
resolution of the strain you wish to 4
b 3
measure. FA
45
45
To measure minute strains, the user Z

must be able to measure minute h 45 Z


resistance changes. The Wheatstone 1 2
45

Bridge configuration, shown in Figure Figure D - Axial Strain


MT 2 1
B, is capable of measuring these Y
small resistance changes. Note the L

signs associated with each gage Figure F - Torsional Strain


numbered 1 through 4. The total
strain is always the sum of the four
strains. would be 4 times the strain on one sectional modulus is (bh2/6).
gage. See Figure C. Strain gages used in the bending
strain configuration can be used
If total strain is four to determine vertical load (F);
times the strain on this is more commonly referred to
4
one gage, this as a bending beam load cell.
1
+ means that the
F  = E  B (Z)/ l = E  B (bh 2⁄6)/ l

VIN output will be four
REGULATED times larger.
DC Therefore, greater 2) AXIAL STRAIN equals axial
sensitivity and stress divided by Young’s
– +
2 3 resolution are Modulus.
possible when EA = oA /E oA = FA /A
more than one
strain gage is used. Where axial stress (oA) equals
VOUT the axial load divided by the
Fig. B The following cross-sectional area. The cross-
Wheatstone Bridge equations show the sectional area for rectangles
relationships equals (b x d). Therefore, strain
The total strain is represented by a among stress, strain, and force for gages used in axial
change in V . If each gage had the
OUT bending, axial, shear, and torsional configurations can be used to
same positive strain, the total would strain. determine axial loads (F (axial)).
F (axial) = E  A bh
be zero and V would remain
OUT
1) BENDING STRAIN or moment
unchanged. Bending, axial, and strain is equal to bending stress
shear strain are the most common divided by Young’s Modulus of 3) SHEAR STRAIN equals shear
types of strain measured. The actual Elasticity. stress divided by modulus of
arrangement of your strain gages will shear stress.
determine the type of strain you can B = oB/E oB = MB/Z = F(l )/Z  = /G  = F x Q/bI
measure and the output voltage
Moment stress (oB) equals
change. See Figures C through F.
bending moment (F x l ) divided Where shear stress ( ) equals
For example, if a positive (tensile) by sectional modulus. Sectional (Q), the moment of area about
strain is applied to gages 1 and 3, modulus (Z) is a property of the the neutral axis multiplied by the
and a negative (compressive) strain cross-sectional configuration of the vertical load (F ) divided by the
to gages 2 and 4, the total strain specimen. For rectangles only, the thickness (b) and the moment of

E-5
POSITIONING STRAIN GAGES
TO MONITOR BENDING, AXIAL, SHEAR, AND TORSIONAL LOADS

inertia ( I ). Both the moment of where torsional stress ( ) equals a gage factor of 2.0, Poisson’s Ratio
area (Q) and the moment of torque (Mt) multiplied by the of 0.3, and it disregards the lead wire
inertia ( I ) are functions of the distance from the center of the resistance.
specimen’s cross-sectional section to the outer fiber (d/2),
geometry. This chart is quite useful in
divided by (J), the polar moment determining the meter sensitivity
For rectangles only of inertia. The polar moment of required to read strain values.
Q = bh 2⁄8 and I = bh 3⁄12 inertia is a function of the cross-
sectional area. For solid circular Temperature compensation is
The shear strain ( ) is shafts only, J =  (d)4⁄32. The achieved in many of the above
determined by measuring the modulus of shear strain (G) has configurations. Temperature
strain at a 45° angle, as shown in been defined in the preceding compensation means that the gage’s
Figure E. discussion on shear stress. Strain thermal expansion coefficient does
2 X @ 45°
gages can be used to determine
= torsional moments as shown in
not have to match the specimen’s
thermal expansion coefficient;
The modulus of shear strain (G) = the equation below. This therefore, any OMEGA® strain gage,
E/2 (1 +  ). Therefore, strain represents the principle behind regardless of its temperature
gages used in a shear strain every torque sensor. characteristics, can be used with any
specimen material. Quarter bridges
Mt =  (J) (2/d)
configuration can be used to
determine vertical loads (F ); this can have temperature compensation
is more commonly referred to as =  G (J) (2/d) if a dummy gage is used. A dummy
a shear beam load cell. =  G ( d 3⁄16) gage is a strain gage used in place
of a fixed resistor. Temperature
F = G ( ) bI/Q Ø = MTL/G(J) compensation is achieved when this
= G ( ) b (bh ⁄12)/(bh ⁄8)
3 2 dummy gage is mounted on a piece
of material similar to the specimen
= G ( )bh(2/3) which undergoes the same
temperature changes as does the
4) TORSIONAL STRAIN equals
torsional stress ( ) divided by
specimen, but which is not exposed
torsional modulus of elasticity (G).
See Figure F.
T he following table shows how
bridge configuration affects output,
to the same strain. Strain
temperature compensation is not the
same as load (stress) temperature
 = 2 x @ 45° = /G temperature compensation, and compensation, because Young's
compensation of superimposed Modulus of Elasticity varies with
 = Mt(d/2)/J strains. This table was created using temperature.

POSITION SENSITIVITY OUTPUT PER

STRAIN GAGES
BRIDGE OF GAGES mV/V @  @ 10 V TEMP. SUPERIMPOSED
STRAIN TYPE FIG. C-F 1000   EXCITATION COMP. STRAIN COMPENSATED
⁄4
1
1 0.5 5  V/ No None
BENDING ⁄2
1
1, 2 1.0 10  V/ Yes Axial
Full All 2.0 20  V/ Yes Axial
⁄4
1
1 0.5 5  V/ No None E
⁄2
1
1, 2 0.65 6.5  V/ Yes None
AXIAL
⁄2
1
1, 3 1.0 10  V/ No Bending
Full All 1.3 13  V/ Yes Bending
⁄2
1
1, 2 1.0 10  V/ Yes Axial and Bending
SHEAR
@ 45°F
AND
TORSIONAL Full All 2.0 20  V/ Yes Axial and Bending
@ 45°F
Note: Shear and torsional strain = 2 x  @ 45°.

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