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Journal of Materials Processing Technology 143–144 (2003) 807–813

Mild steel (En8) rod tests under combined tension–torsion loading

N.M. Zarroug∗ , R. Padmanabhan, B.J. MacDonald, P. Young, M.S.J. Hashmi
School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Centre for Design and Manufacturing, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland


This paper examines the results obtained from combined tension–torsion loading tests carried out on Mild steel (En8) specimen. The
loading of the specimen was carried out in different modes: (i) maintaining tensile force or axial displacement constant and increasing
torque or angle of twist; (ii) maintaining torque or angle of twist constant and increasing load or axial displacement. A finite element
solution of the problem was obtained to gain further insight into the effects of the loading modes. The results from the finite element
analysis (FEA) were validated against experimental results.
© 2003 Published by Elsevier B.V.

Keywords: Torsion; Tension; Constant angle of twist; Constant axial displacement; ANSYS

1. Introduction different modes of loading the specimen were considered

for a fixed (i) axial load, torque was increased, (ii) axial dis-
In recent times, more attention has been paid to the ex- placement, torque was increased, (iii) torque, axial load was
perimental investigation and analysis of results using sim- increased and (iv) angular twist, axial load was increased.
ulation packages to determine the mechanical behaviour of The results from the experiments were analysed and found
material, under complex loading conditions since uniaxial to be consistent with the theoretical analysis of the com-
experiments have been found to be inadequate for reveal- bined load test based on the Ideal Plasticity theory, namely:
ing the material behaviour completely. Experiments carried that there is no one to one relationship between stress and
out by Meguid et al. [1], to determine the behavior of thin strain over the yield plateau.
walled tubular specimen made of Mild steel (En8) under
non-proportional straining gave results in good agreement
with the von Mises yield condition. It was possible to ob- 2. Experimental setup
tain almost entire positive quadrant of the yield curve from
a single test, without unloading and reloading the specimen. The test machine is a purpose built machine capable of ap-
Further it was said that at constant angle of twist and in- plying tension and torsion loads simultaneously at different
creasing the axial load, the experimental shear stress trajec- strain rates. Two servomotors control the loading of speci-
tory follows the von Mises yield curve upto a point and then men, one for tension and one for torsion. The load, torque,
onwards deviate crossing the von Mises yield curve. This axial displacement and angular twist can be maintained at
can be attributed to the deformation prior and during the on- constant independently. This is possible by controlling the
set of the necking of the specimen [2]. Similar experiments speed and torque of individual motors, through servo con-
carried out by Ali and Hashmi [3] on circular steel rod sub- trollers. The machine is controlled from a remote computer
jected to combined torque and tension loading reported that using LabVIEW software and data acquisition devices. Four
the shear stress and axial stress relationship was found to transducers were used to measure load, torque, axial dis-
be non-linear. This paper investigates the behaviour of Mild placement and angular twist and the measured units were
steel (En8) rod under combined tension and torsion. The amplified with a modular amplifier and fed to LabVIEW for
material is subjected to different combined loading modes control and display. A closed loop is created with LabVIEW,
using a purpose built torque–tension machine to establish as the program takes action according to the signals from
the behaviour in the elastic-plastic region until failure. Four the transducers. These inputs from the transducers are saved
as database for analysis. A schematic of the experimental
setup is shown in Fig. 1.
∗ Corresponding author. Apart from the transducers used in the machine, strain
E-mail address: zarroug99@yahoo.com (N.M. Zarroug). gauges are attached to the specimen to obtain the strain

0924-0136/$ – see front matter © 2003 Published by Elsevier B.V.

808 N.M. Zarroug et al. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 143–144 (2003) 807–813

Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of the test rig setup.

information of the specimen under different loads. The

strain gauges are properly balanced for resistance and the
output voltage is supplied to the modular amplifier for fur-
ther amplification and then to the LabVIEW system. Two
types of strain gauges, one for the axial strain measurement Fig. 2. Geometry of specimen.
and other for the shear strain measurement, are used in
the experiments, and are attached within the gauge length
tests were carried out on virgin specimens under same load-
of the specimen. The test specimen used in the experi-
ing conditions and the proof axial stress at 0.02% offset,
ments is Mild steel designated as En8 (AISI 1039 Steel)
Fig. 3a, and corresponding axial yield load was averaged to
with the following composition of components (wt.%):
be 30.5 kN, Fig. 3b. After loading the specimen to the above
C Fe Mn P S mentioned extension, a torque is applied to the specimen.
For this test, strain gauges are not used as there is no further
0.36–0.44 98.47–98.94 0.7–1 0.04 (max.) 0.05 (max.) extension of the specimen and the torque applied is at a pre-
determined shear strain rate. The specimen was loaded until
The specimen is prepared in standard dimensions yield point was reached. The same procedure was adopted
and properly fit in the grippers of the purpose built for tests on samples initially subjected to 75% of yield
torque–tension machine. The dimensions of the specimen load.
are shown in Fig. 2. The machine is controlled by the In the second set of experiments, the specimen was sub-
LabVIEW software. A virtual machine control panel, con- jected to an initial torque corresponding to 50% of yield
sisting of variable knobs, boolean switches and transducer torque and axial load was increased by maintaining the an-
signal indicators, was programmed in the computer and all gle of twist constant. This was achieved by setting the torque
the controls and indicators in the front panel were properly motor to HOLD position and running the load motor. The
wired in the block diagram which runs in the background. yield torque was found out from pure torque tests on steel
The input signals from the transducer amplifier is analysed specimens. Two pure torsion tests were carried out on vir-
and according to the test condition and front panel inputs, gin specimen under same loading conditions and the proof
the motors are controlled. Four different programmes for yield torque was averaged to be 67.9 N m, Fig. 4. In this
four loading modes are prepared. case, the axial load was applied until the specimen failed.
The procedure was repeated by applying an initial torque
corresponding to 75% yield torque and increasing the axial
3. Experimental programme load, but keeping the angle of twist constant.
In the third set of experiments, a predetermined load of
Combined tension–torsion load tests have been carried out 50% axial yield load was applied to the specimen and that
at normal room temperature in four different loading modes. load was maintained in the specimen throughout the test.
In the first set of experiments, the specimen was loaded un- With the presence of axial load, a torque was applied to the
til an extension corresponding to 50% of axial yield load specimen until the ultimate point. The same procedure was
was achieved and the load motor was set to HOLD mode repeated for 75% axial yield load also.
to keep the axial displacement constant. The extension for In the fourth set of experiments, 50% yield torque was
50 and 75% axial yield load was found out from simple applied on the specimen and the axial load was increased
tension tests carried out on steel specimens. Two tension until failure. The torque was maintained constant throughout
N.M. Zarroug et al. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 143–144 (2003) 807–813 809

Fig. 3. (a) Axial stress vs. axial strain; (b) uniaxial tensile load vs. axial strain.

Fig. 4. Pure torque vs. shear strain.

the experiment. The same procedure was carried out for 75% duces von Mises yield condition. The axial load in the spec-
yield torque. imen then decreases rapidly as the normalised torque ex-
Four transducers, namely, an axial load cell, a torque ceeds 1.5 times the yield torque. When the specimen was
load cell, an angle measuring device and a linear variable subjected to an initial axial load corresponding to 75% yield
displacement transducer (LVDT) were used to measure the load and then torque is applied, the axial load starts to de-
axial load, torque, angle of twist and axial displacement, crease at a greater rate at the initial stage of loading and
respectively. The modular amplifier excites the transducers tends to drop rapidly after about 1.5 times the yield torque.
and the signal are received and amplified and then fed to On comparison of these two cases, when the initial ax-
LabVIEW. The signal, in volts, from the amplifier is scaled ial load is smaller, the subsequent torque holding capacity
properly and shown on the indicator in the front panel as of the specimen is extended upto 1.75 times yield torque
well as stored as a Microsoft Excel file, for future analysis. after which yielding occurs. The specimen sustains larger
torque because of the nonlinear, inelastic behaviour across
the cross-section in shear. This increases the torque carrying
4. Results and discussion behaviour of the specimen. From the yield criteria for com-
bined loading according to von Mises, the material starts
4.1. Axial displacement held constant yielding at lower torque when the initially applied axial load
is increased. This follows the yield criteria σ 2 + 3τ 2 = Y 2 ,
Initially the specimen was extended to a displacement where σ is the axial stress, τ the shear stress and Y the ax-
corresponding to 50% yield load and then a torque was ap- ial yield stress. After reaching the yield plateau the com-
plied. It was observed from Fig. 5, that as the torque was bined stresses in the specimen follows the yield plateau as
increased gradually, the initially applied axial load remains shown in Fig. 5. The normalised torque exceeds unity due
constant for certain level of torque. It then decreases very to the strain hardening property of the material as shown in
marginally until the combined axial load and torque pro- Fig. 4.
810 N.M. Zarroug et al. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 143–144 (2003) 807–813

Fig. 5. Normalised axial load vs. normalised torque (constant axial displacement).

4.2. Angular twist held constant tial torque followed by increasing axial load, yields plas-
tically at an early stage than the specimen subjected to a
In this loading mode, the specimen was subjected to 50% lower initial torque. This is due to the fact that the combined
yield torque and the angle of twist was held constant. An stress level meets the strain hardening yield plateau at an
axial load was then applied to the specimen already under early stage and then follows the yield plateau until necking
torque. The torque remains constant at the initial level until starts. The combined stress in the specimen with the lower
the applied axial load reaches a value which when combined initial torque meets the yield plateau drawn using maximum
with the torque causes the material to yield. Thereafter, for stresses just prior to the onset of necking. The combined
any increase in axial load the torque reduces rapidly till stress levels in both cases do not follow the yield plateau
the axial load reaches a maximum of about 1.2 times the drawn with the values of initial yield stresses in tension and
yield axial load as shown in Fig. 6. At this stage any at- torsion.
tempt to increase the axial load causes the onset of plas-
tic instability and necking. The axial load decreases rapidly 4.3. Constant axial load
at a constant torque until the specimen fails through frac-
ture. Similar behavior is repeated for an initial torque of In the third loading mode, the specimen was subjected to
about 73% yield torque. The results plotted in terms of nor- an initially applied axial load of 50% of the uniaxial proof
malised shear stress and axial stress for specimens initially yield load and subsequent application of torque, maintaining
subjected to initial torque of 29 and 79% yield torque, give the axial load constant throughout the test. This procedure
a clearer indication of when plastic yielding commences un- was repeated for an initially applied axial load of 75% of the
der combined torsion and tension loads. These results shown uniaxial yield load. As the torque was gradually increased,
in Fig. 7 indicate that the specimen subjected to higher ini- the shear strain as well as the axial strain was observed to

Fig. 6. Normalised axial load vs. normalised torque (constant angle of twist).
N.M. Zarroug et al. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 143–144 (2003) 807–813 811

Fig. 7. Normalised axial stress vs. normalised shear stress (constant angle of twist).

Fig. 8. Normalised shear strain vs. normalised axial strain (constant load).

increase so as to maintain the axial load constant. To observe but it exceeds 3.5 for the lower initially applied axial load.
the effect of initially applied axial load on the strength of This shows that, since the combined stress is lower in the
the solid rod with the subsequently applied torque, the test latter case it can accommodate more shear strain. The rate
results are plotted in terms of normalised axial strain versus of increase in the axial strain rate is significantly higher for
normalised shear strain and are shown in Fig. 8. It was the higher initial axial load compared to that for low initial
observed from this figure that at higher initial axial load, the axial load, for a given increase in the shear strain and hence
normalised shear strain does not reach more than about 2 shear stress.

Fig. 9. Normalised axial strain vs. normalised shear strain (constant torque).
812 N.M. Zarroug et al. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 143–144 (2003) 807–813

4.4. Constant torque SOLID73, a 3D eight-node structural solid element with

rotation. The element has six degrees of freedom at each
In this loading case, the specimen was subjected to an node. Young’s modulus used was 210 GPa based on material
initial torque of 50% yield torque of the steel specimen, and tests and the Poisson ratio was set to 0.3. Both the loads
subsequently an increasing axial load was applied. The same (torque and tension) were applied in a single load step. The
procedure was repeated for an initially applied torque of 75% specimen geometry is supplied to ANSYS and meshed. The
yield torque as well. Normalised axial strain and shear strains sparse direct solver was used to solve all the combination
are plotted as in Fig. 9. The figure shows that with increasing of loads.
axial strain, due to the increase in the axial load the shear Images from the general post processor for axial displace-
strain increases to maintain the initially applied torque. This ment, angular twist, shear stress and von Mises equivalent
increase in shear strain is much higher for initially applied stress for one load case (T = 0.5 yield torque and F = 1.18
higher torque values. As the axial load and hence the axial axial yield load) are presented in Fig. 10. The axial displace-
strain increases, the outer layers of the specimen begin to ment of the gauge length is calculated from the cumulative
yield and to maintain the torque constant the shear strain values of displacements of all the sections as deformation in
increases. other sections was found to be negligible, whereas the angle
of twist is calculated from the extreme section value at the
load end. As shown in Fig. 11 for axial displacement and
5. Results of finite element analysis Fig. 12 for angle of twist, the closeness of the curves shows
good agreement of the finite element analysis (FEA) and ex-
ANSYS version 5.6 was used for preliminary analysis of perimental test results. The same procedure was adopted for
the combined load cases. Combinations of 50 and 75% of three other loading cases. All the results revealed the same
yield axial loads and 50 and 75% of yield torque values trend of good agreement between the FEA and experimental
were used for the analyses. The element type chosen was test results, hence they are not presented individually.

Fig. 10. Images from ANSYS showing deformation of specimen at 50% yield torque and 118% yield axial load.
N.M. Zarroug et al. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 143–144 (2003) 807–813 813

Fig. 11. Comparison of axial displacement in FEA and experiment.

Fig. 12. Comparison of angular twist in FEA and experiment.

6. Conclusion the shear strain. The axial strain was found to increase
rapidly for initially applied higher load case.
• Experimental results from combined torsion–tension load- • Similarly, to maintain the initially applied torque on sub-
ing indicates that the initially applied torque or axial load sequent application of axial load, the shear strain increases
begins to decrease with the subsequently applied load or along with the axial strain.
torque respectively, when the combined stress reaches a • The results from preliminary FEA were found to be in
critical value which is governed by the yield criteria. close agreement with the experimental results.
• When the axial displacement was maintained constant and • A refinement in analysis of load cases is carried out to
torque was increased, the axial load carrying capacity of simulate the exact loading path of the actual experiment.
the specimen decreases. A rapid drop in the axial load
carrying capacity is observed once yield torque is reached.
• When the angle of twist was maintained constant and the References
axial load was increased, the torque carrying capacity of
the specimen drops rapidly once the yield load is reached. [1] S.A. Meguid, L.E. Malvern, J.D. Campbell, Plastic flow of mild steel
under proportional and non-proportional straining at a controlled rate,
When the initially applied torque is closer to the yield
Trans. ASME 101 (1979) 248–253.
torque, the maximum axial load that can be applied to the [2] S.A. Meguid, M.S. Klair, L.E. Malvern, Theoretical and experimen-
specimen decreases significantly. After the specimen be- tal results of the plastic and strain-hardening behavior of En8 at a
comes fully plastic, even without any increase in load the controlled rate, Int. J. Mech. Sci. 26 (11/12) (1984) 607–616.
axial stress and shear stress increases rapidly as necking [3] A.R.M. Ali, M.S.J. Hashmi, Theoretical and experimental results of the
elastic–plastic response of a circular rod subjected to non-proportional
commences and fails rapidly. combined torque and tension loadings, in: Proceedings of the Insti-
• To maintain the initially applied load on subsequent ap- tution of Mechanical Engineers, Part C, vol. 213, 1999, pp. 251–
plication of torque, the axial strain increases along with 261.