Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Open-Source Flexible Materials Tensile Testing Apparatus

Version 1 : Received: 17 November 2023 / Approved: 21 November 2023 / Online: 22 November 2023 (07:38:14 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Woods, M.C.; Nauta, N.; Pearce, J.M. Open-Source Flexible Material Tensile Testing Apparatus. Hardware 2024, 2, 33-49. Woods, M.C.; Nauta, N.; Pearce, J.M. Open-Source Flexible Material Tensile Testing Apparatus. Hardware 2024, 2, 33-49.


Alternative food sources are essential in both low-resource settings or during emergencies like abrupt sunlight reduction scenarios. Seaweed presents a promising option but requires investigation into the viability of unconventionally sourced ropes for harvesting. As such, a low-cost reliable method to test the tensile strength of rope is needed to validate alternative materials for use in harvesting seaweed. Unfortunately, commercial rope testing jigs alone range in price from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars. To fill this need, this article reports on an open-source design for tensile strength rope testing hardware. The hardware design focuses on using readily available parts that can be both sourced from a hardware store and manufactured with simple tools to provide for the greatest geographic accessibility. The jig design, which can be fabricated for CAD$20 is two to three orders of magnitude less expensive than commercially available solutions. The jig was built and tested using a case study example investigating denim materials (of 1 5/8”, 3 1/4", 4 7/8”, 6 1/2", and 8 1/8” widths) as a potential alternative rope material for seaweed farming. Denim demonstrated strength up to 1.65kN for the widest sample and the jig demonstrated sufficient strength and stiffness for operating at forces below 4kN. The results are discussed and areas for future improvements are outlined to adapt the device to other circumstances and increase the strength of materials that can be tested.


rope; rope testing; alternative ropes; tensile strength; rope tensile strength; seaweed production; seaweed


Engineering, Mechanical Engineering

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