Structural Steel

Effect of Strain Rate on Tensile Properties

Tensile properties of structural steels are usually determined at relatively slow strain rates to obtain information appropriate for designing structures subjected to static loads. In the design of structures subjected to high loading rates, such as those caused by impact loads, however, it may be necessary to consider the variation in tensile properties with strain rate.
Figure 1.8 shows the results of rapid tension tests conducted on a carbon steel, two HSLA steels, and a constructional alloy steel. The tests were conducted at three strain rates and at three temperatures to evaluate the interrelated effect of these variables on the strength of the steels. The values shown for the slowest and the intermediate strain rates on the roomtemperature curves reflect the usual room-temperature yield stress and tensile strength, respectively.
(In determination of yield stress, ASTM E8 allows a maximum strain rate of 1⁄16
in per in per mm, or 1.04 x 10^3 in per in per sec. In determination of tensile strength, E8 allows a maximum strain rate of 0.5 in per in per mm, or 8.33 x 10^3 in per in per sec.)
The curves in Fig. 1.8a and b show that the tensile strength and 0.2% offset yield strength of all the steels increase as the strain rate increases at 50F and at room temperature. The greater increase in tensile strength is about 15%, for A514 steel, whereas the greatest increase in yield strength is about 48%, for A515 carbon steel. However, Fig. 1.8c shows that at 600F, increasing the strain rate has a relatively small influence on the yield strength. But a faster strain rate causes a slight decrease in the tensile strength of most of the steels.

Ductility of structural steels, as measured by elongation or reduction of area, tends to decrease with strain rate. Other tests have shown that modulus of elasticity and Poisson’s ratio do not vary significantly with strain rate.


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