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Toughness - Strength ( Mechanics ) of Materials

The quality known as toughness describes the way a material reacts under sudden impacts. It is defined as the work required to deform one cubic inch of metal until it fractures. Toughness is measured by the Charpy test or the Izod test.

Both of these tests use a notched sample. The location and shape of the notch are standard. The points of support of the sample, as well as the impact of the hammer, must bear a constant relationship to the location of the notch.

The tests are conducted by mounting the samples as shown in Figure 8 and allowing a pendulum of a known weight to fall from a set height. The maximum energy developed by the hammer is 120 ft-lb in the Izod test and 240 ft-lb in the Charpy test. By properly calibrating the machine, the energy absorbed by the specimen may be measured from the upward swing of the pendulum after it has fractured the material specimen as shown in Figure 9. The greater the amount of energy absorbed by the specimen, the smaller the upward swing of the pendulum will be and the tougher the material is.

Indication of toughness is relative and applicable only to cases involving exactly this type of sample and method of loading. A sample of a different shape will yield an entirely different result. Notches confine the deformation to a small volume of metal that reduces toughness. In effect, it is the shape of the metal in addition to the material composition that determines the toughness of the material.

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