Ratio of the maximum load a material can support without fracture when being stretched to the original area of a cross section of the material. When stresses less than the tensile strength are removed, a material completely or partially returns to its original size and shape. As the stress approaches that of the tensile strength, a material that has begun to flow forms a narrow, constricted region that is easily fractured. Tensile strengths are measured in units of force per unit area. See also deformation and flow.
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