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The Young modulus
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Stiffness vs. strength
Experiment - step 1
Experiment - step 2
Experiment - step 3

By Bill Mitchell & Andrew Green

The Young Modulus, E is a material property that describes its stiffness and is therefore one of the most important properties in engineering design.

Learning outcomes

After completing this section, you should be able to:

provide a definition of the Young modulus and give its units;
explain the terms tensile force, tensile stress, tensile strain, elastic, strong and stiff;
differentiate between the terms strength and stiffness;
determine the Young modulus experimentally by;
describing the apparatus;
measuring the key dimensions of the test wire;
using a vernier scale to measure the extension of the wire;
generating a straight-line graph of extension vs. mass;
evaluating the gradient of the graph; and
calculating the Young modulus by substitution into formulae.

Assumed prior knowledge

It is assumed that you have knowledge of the following concepts:

force and its SI unit, the Newton (N);  and
the ability to read a vernier scale.

Materials Teaching Educational Resources
1999 MATTER Project, The University of Liverpool

ESF flagSupported by the European Social Fund under
the Objective One programme for Merseyside