ASTM E8 Tensile Testing of Metal 2
ASTM E8 Tensile Testing of Metal


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Purpose: Measure the strength of a metal in tension per ASTM E8.

Sample: One (1) bar 8 x 1 x 0.1 inches or larger is required for a standard tensile test but smaller samples can be tested using a sub-size specimen.

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Basic Description: ASTM E8 is a method of measuring tensile properties of metal by gripping both ends of a test bar and pulling at a constant speed until it breaks. The metal is usually machined into a dog bone shaped tensile bar before testing. During the test, the force on the bar and how much it stretches is continuously measured. Ultimate tensile strength (stress) is calculated by dividing the maximum force by the original cross sectional area of the test bar. Offset yield strength (stress) is calculated by dividing the force when the test bar starts to permanently deform (usually 0.20% deformation) by the original cross sectional area. Ultimate elongation (strain) is calculated by dividing the amount the test bar stretched (after breaking) by the original length of the bar. Some materials have more specific test methods such as ASTM B557 for Aluminum Tensile Testing and ASTM A370 for Steel Tensile Testing. Tensile properties are useful because they can be used to calculate how much load a given structure can support without deforming or breaking. Results are reported in a table format with one tensile test per sample. Tensile and yield strength are typically reported in units of ksi (1000 pounds per square inch) or MPa (1,000,000 newtons per square meter). Elongation is typically reported in units of %.

Limitations: Test bar must break with a force of less than 50,000 pounds. Metals with an ASTM E18 Rockwell C hardness of 40 or higher may be too hard to machine into a test bar.


  • Tinius Olsen, Hydraulic Tensile Tester, 50,000 pound capacity
  • Instron, Electromechanical Tensile Tester, 20,000 pound capacity
  • United Testing Systems Extensometers

Method Publisher:


  • Elongation
  • Offset Yield Strength
  • Tensile Elongation
  • Tensile Strength
  • Ultimate Tensile Strength
  • Ultimate Elongation
  • Yield Strength

Related Techniques: