Hill Engineering Blog

R&D Project: Strain gaging inside a tube

We are always trying to improve upon existing techniques and explore new methods so we can assure our customers that they are receiving the best services we have to offer.

After we spread out into our new laboratory space, we found some interesting things during the move that were hidden away. Something that caught our eye was a project a member of our lab team did, dealing with applying a strain gage to the inner diameter of a long tube with limited access.

We’ve touched on the process we use to apply a strain gage in one of our YouTube videos, but whereas that was a simple coupon with easy access, this tube was anything but simple. The diameter of the tube was just small enough that a hand was not able to fit inside, let alone apply a strain gage. We had to think outside the box and see how we could address this challenge of limited access.

A critical step in the strain gage application process is applying the proper pressure needed at the strain gage location to get a good bond. Any impurities in the adhesive, such as small bits of debris or bubbles, under the strain gage can lead to issues like debonding of the strain gage and unstable readings, which does not make for a successful residual stress measurement.

This did not deter us, though, and after some trial and error, we were able to successfully develop the tooling needed to access the strain gage application site on the inner diameter and supply the pressure needed to ensure a good bond.

This project is only one of the many ways we have utilized our lab team’s skills to address challenges in our field of expertise. If you have a specialized need for strain gage application or residual stress measurements, contact us for more information.