(a)   To determine the Young’s Modulus of the given material   

                   (half meter wooden scale )


(b)           To investigate the strain distribution on a wooden  1 meter scale.




            Part (a)      A half metre scale with two identical strain gauges fixed to one end of the scale – one strain gauge at the top and the other at the bottom-length wise, a clamp, a circuit board with appropriate terminals to constitute a Wheatstone  network, hanger and slotted weights, Digital micro-voltmeter (DPM), Vernier calipers, screw gauge, rheostats, R-Box a constant current source and connecting wires.

           Part (b)      All the above with a  full meter scale with 6 or 7 strain gauges stuck on one side.

Basic Theory:

Young’s modulus:-


When an external force, F, is applied along a long bar of length L, (and perpendicular to the cross-sectional area A), internal forces in the bar resist distortion and the bar attains an equilibrium when the external force is exactly balanced by the internal forces with a change in length, DL. The tensile stress is force per unit area (in N/m2) and the longitudinal stress is the change in length to the original length and it is dimensionless quantity. The ratio of the tensile stress (F/A) to the tensile strain (DL/L) is given by,




where Y is the Young’s modulus of the bar.

Strain Gauge:


A strain gauge is a transducer whose electrical resistance varies in proportion to the amount of strain in the device. The most widely used gauge is metallic strain gauge which  consists of a very fine wire or, more commonly, metallic foil arranged in a grid pattern. The grid pattern maximizes the amount of metallic wire or foil subject to strain in the parallel direction (Figure 1). The cross sectional area of the grid is minimized to reduce the effect of shear strain and Poisson Strain. The grid is bonded to a thin backing, called the carrier, which is attached directly to the test specimen. Therefore, the strain experienced by the test specimen is transferred directly to the strain gauge, which responds with a linear change in electrical resistance.






                                                            Figure 1



A fundamental parameter of the strain gauge is its sensitivity to strain, expressed quantitatively as the gauge factor (l). Gauge factor is defined as the ratio of fractional change in electrical resistance to the fractional change in length (strain):



The Gauge Factor for a metallic strain gauge is typically around 2.



Wheatstone Bridge:

Measuring the strain with a strain gauge requires accurate measurement of very small changes in resistance and such small changes in R can be measured with a Wheatstone Bridge. A general Wheatstone bridge consists of four resistive arms with an excitation voltage, VEX, that is applied across the bridge (Figure 2).



                                                                        Figure 2


The output voltage of the bridge, VO, will be equal to:


From this equation, it is apparent that when R1/R2 = R4/R3, the voltage output VO will be zero. Under these conditions, the bridge is said to be balanced. Any change in resistance in any arm of the bridge will result in a nonzero output voltage. Therefore, if we replace R4 in Figure 2 with an active strain gauge, any changes in the strain gauge resistance will unbalance the bridge and produce a nonzero output voltage. If the nominal resistance of the strain gauge is designated as RG, then the strain-induced change in resistance, DR, can be expressed as DR = RG·l·strain.                                                             (4)

Assuming that R1 = R2 and R3 = RG, the bridge equation above can be rewritten to express VO/VEX as a function of strain.


Ideally, we would like the resistance of the strain gauge to change only in response to applied strain. However, strain gauge material, as well as the specimen material on which the gauge is mounted, will also respond to changes in temperature. Strain gauge manufacturers attempt to minimize sensitivity to temperature by processing the gauge material to compensate for the thermal expansion of the specimen material for which the gauge is intended. While compensated gauges reduce the thermal sensitivity, they do not totally remove it. By using two strain gauges in the bridge, the effect of temperature can be further minimized. For example, in a strain gauge configuration where one gauge is active (RG + DR), and a second gauge is placed transverse to the applied strain. Therefore, the strain has little effect on the second gauge, called the dummy gauge. However, any changes in temperature will affect both gauges in the same way. Because the temperature changes are identical in the two gauges, the ratio of their resistance does not change, the voltage VO does not change, and the effects of the temperature change are minimized.

The sensitivity of the bridge to strain can be doubled by making both gauges active in a half-bridge configuration. Figure 3 illustrates a bending beam application with one bridge mounted in tension (RG + DR) and the other mounted in compression (RG - DR). This half-bridge configuration, whose circuit diagram is also illustrated in Figure 3, yields an output voltage that is linear and approximately doubles the output of the quarter-bridge circuit.


                                                            Figure 3a & b




And in this experiment we aim to determine the Young’s modulus of a half-metre wooden bar by loading it with a mass of “m” gm. For a beam of rectangular cross-section with breadth b and thickness d, the moment of inertia I, is

            I = bd3/12                    (5)

The moment of force/ restoring couple is Y.I/R where R is the radius of curvature of the bending beam. The Young’s modulus Y is calculated by assuming that at equilibrium, the bending moment is equal to the restoring moment.



1.      Clamp the beam to the table in such a way that the strain gauges are close to the clamped end.  Load and unload the free end of the beam a number of times.


2.      Make the connections as given in the circuit diagram (Fig. 4).

















                                                            Figure 4


P = 100 W resistor; S = 10 mA current source, DPM = a Voltmeter with digital panel

R = strain gauges of resistance ~ 121 ohms with a gauge factor l=2.2 , Q = 82 W  + (20 W and 10 W rheostats) all in series (100 W and 82 W are connected internally under the board).


3.      Switch on the constant current source and the DPM.


4.      Balance the bridge using the two rheostats in tandem.  At this stage the DPM will read 0 or very nearly zero.  Note that this is done with no load.


5.      Load the beam with a hanger of mass m gm suspending it as close to the free end as possible.  Note the DPM reading.  Note that as you are about to take a reading the last digit will be changing about the actual steady value.  Take at least 10 readings continuously and take the average of these ten.


6.      Increase the load in steps of m gm, up to 5m gm and take the readings each time.

7.      Unload the beam from 5m down to zero in steps of m gm at a time and note the DPM reading each time.

8.      To check reproducibility, repeat all the above processes taking readings while loading and unloading in steps of m gm.


9.      Draw a graph between m along X-axis and unbalanced voltage dV along Y-axis.  Determine the slope of this graph (dV/m).


10.  Note the distance between the center of the strain gauges and the point of application of the load (L).


11.  Measure the breadth of the beam using slide calipers (b).


12.  Measure the thickness of the beam using a screw gauge (d).


13.  Young’s Modulus of the material of the beam, which is nothing but the stress to strain ratio,  is given by the following expression (using equations 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5)


      where g is acceleration due to gravity, l the gauge factor – to be obtained from the teacher, I is the output current from source S.  R is the resistance of strain gauge.


14.  Tabulations












DPM reading




1) loading

V1 / mV









2) Unloading

V2 / mV









 Mean  of V1+V2










Part (b) : Study of Distribution of strain in a loaded beam




      To study the distribution of strain along the length of a loaded cantilever. The strain will be evaluated using strain gauges.


      If R is the resistance of an unstrained strain gauge and (R + ∆R) is the resistance of the same in the strained state then



i.e,  the fractional change in resistance of the strain gauge is twice the strain ( Δl/l ) developed. Figure 5a shows a cantilever clamped at one end and loaded at the other end. Let  ‘r’ be the radius of curvature of the cantilever at a point P distance ‘x’ from the loaded end. AB represents the unstrained neutral layer (Fig.5b & c) at P. CD is a layer at a distance y above the neutral layer. O’ is the centre of  curvature.


                                                                                    Fig. 5a


                                                                                    Fig. 5b





                                                                                    Fig. 5c




                                         CD- AB =  Y

                                            AB           r


       or                                  ∆ l   =  Y                                  

                                              l          r


         This represents the strain at P in terms of the radius of curvature at P and the half thickness (Y) of the beam.

        The balancing equation for the internal bending moment and the external bending moment is

Y- Young’s modulus of the material of the beam

ak2- Geometric moment of inertia of the cross-section of the beam=8by3/12  for a                  rectangular cross section.

r-       radius of curvature at a point distant x from the loaded end.

Mgx- external bending moment,



Thus strain at different points can be calculated using the above formula.



Five strain gauges are fixed at various points along the length of the cantilever Fig.6. Hence the strain at these points can be experimentally determined.


Measurement of resistance of the strain gauges:

Free end





Clamped end


                                                            Figure 6


To Microammeter



Constant Current Source



                                                            Figure 7

Connect any one strain gauge, say strain gauge number #5, in series with a standard resistor (10 Ω ) and constant current source as shown in figure 7. Pass 10 mA current through both the elements using the given constant current source. Measure the potential drop across  the strain gauge (VSG) and then the potential drop across the standard resistor  (VSR). Then

                                       VSR  / 10    = I


           and                      VSG / I   = R  



Care must be taken to choose proper voltage range when the potential drop across the two elements are measured. The experiment must be repeated with all the strain gauges that are stuck on the one meter scale and the readings are to be tabulated as shown in Table II.

            Table – II



Sl. No


Distance of SG

From loaded end















∆ R





∆ R










Measurement of variation of resistance of the strain gauge when the cantilever is loaded


   Suspend the hanger(Dead weight) at the load point of the cantilever.

   Form a d.c bridge with any one of the strain gauges say SG(5) and two equal 100 Ω resistors and a variable resistor as shown in figure3.

                   CCS – 10 MA constant current source

                   DPM – 4 ˝ digit 20 MV input digital panel meter –(detector) (Digital microvoltmeter)

The 10 Ω rheostat, 50 Ω rheostat and R-Box are necessary for fine adjustment for initial balancing of the bridge. You can also use a R-.Box in series with the above two. Initially keep the DPM in 100 mV Range, balance the bridge for a value less than 10 mV. Then set to 10 mV Range, again balance the bridge for a very small value (close to Zero).

The minimum voltage at the best balancing condition can be made to be about 0.015 to 0.025 mV

              Now load the cantilever with a mass of 250gms or 100gm(2 slot, each slot is 50gm) and suspend it as close to the free end as possible. The strain gauge gets strained. The unbalanced voltage (due only to the change in resistance of the strain gauge) can be measured from the same DPM.


The change in resistance R of the strain gauge is            


The experiment has to be repeated for all the strain gauges that are stuck on the scale one by one  in ascending order from the clamped end . Initial balancing must be done for all strain gauges. Reproducibility of results must be checked by repeating the experiment several times. The results are to be recorded in the (previous) tabular column.

                    Obtain the theoretical strain at the same points, assuming the Young’s modulus of the material of the rod. Plot a graph with distances on the X-axis and the corresponding strains (both experimental and theoretical) on the Y-axis, connect the points by a smooth graph.

                    The graph represents the distribution of the strain at various points along the length of the cantilever.