The objective of this study was to analyze the stress concentration factor (Kt) in specimens of uniform material with the most commonly used geometry (square hourglass) during microtensile tests using finite element analysis. Standardization is emphasized with the aim of obtaining the most representative nominal strength of the material. Eighty cases were simulated using three-dimensional models, in which we varied the fixation of specimens in the jig (f = 1 or 2 sides), the height of this fixed region (h = 1 or 2.75 mm), the specimen width (D = 1.5, 2, 3, 4 or 5 mm), and the radius of curvature of the notch (r = 0.2, 0.5, 0.7 or 1 mm). The cross-sectional area (1 mm2) remained constant in all analyses. The stress concentration factor Kt (maximum tensile stress/nominal tensile stress) was calculated. A 150% difference was observed from the lowest Kt value (1.3) to the highest one (3.2). Results indicated that the radius of curvature is a very influential geometric parameter in microtensile strength tests (variation in Kt values up to 47.4%). For two-side fixed specimens, the Kt values varied from 3 to 4%, while the one-side fixed models resulted in variations from 11 to 15%. Variations in the specimen geometry and mode of load application can be responsible for part of the different strength values obtained in microtensile tests. The specimen fixation by two sides is a simple and easily performed method to reduce the stress concentration factor and its variations induced by specimen geometry and test assembly.
Keywords: finite element analysis, composite resins, mechanical stress, materials testing