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strain gauge


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A device used to measure a small mechanical deformation in a body (see strain). The most widely used devices are metal wires or foils or semiconductor materials, such as a single silicon crystal, which are attached to structural members; when the members are stretched under tensile stress the resistance of the metal or semiconductor element increases. By making the resistance a component in a Wheatstone-bridge circuit an estimate of the strain can be made by noting the change in resistance. Other types of strain gauge rely on changes of capacitance or the magnetic induction between two coils, one of which is attached to the stressed member.

Subjects: Physics.


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