Technical Blog

What is a Strain Gauge?

What is a Strain Gauge?

What is a strain gauge? A strain gauge is a type of electrical sensor. It’s primary use is to measure force or strain. 

The resistance of a strain gauge changes when force is applied and this change will give a different electrical output. Strain gauges use this method to measure pressure, force, weight and tension.

When external forces are applied to a stationary object there are two forces present; stress and strain. Stress is the resisting force of the object (like a push back) strain is the displacement and deformation of the object and this is the force which can be measured by a strain gauge. Because they are small and highly sensitive strain gauges can measure the contraction or expansion of an object even if it is just a small amount when they are correctly bonded to an object or device. 

Strain gauges are very thin and come in a wide range of shapes and sizes making them suitable for a variety of applications. 

The Function of a Strain Gauge 

A strain gauge is used as a precautionary measure in many testing applications. Usually, when a strain gauge gives a certain reading an alert will be triggered to inform the user that the capacity has been reached, this means that the issue can be addressed before it becomes dangerous.  

 Strain gauge applications 

Strain gauge technology has a huge amount of uses - almost unlimited. Strain gauges are a fundamental sensing element and are used within many different types of sensors. They are well used in industries such as; rail, aerospace, mechanical engineering and research and development. Some of the applications they have been used for include;

  • Stress on railway lines  
  • Stresses on aircraft wing deflection
  • Aircraft component testing 
  • Rotational strain on turbines, wheels, fans, propellers and motors
  • Testing ships hulls
  • Testing structural components for bridges and buildings 
  • Automotive testing

Strain Gauges from Variohm

Our strain gauges come from our supplier Zemic. They use resistive foil mounted onto a backing material. See our strain gauges here. 

For more information on strain gauges or any of the products we can offer please contact us