What are Strain Gauges and how do they work?

Strain gauges are devices that measure the strain of an object which is the deformation it experiences as a result of mechanical force. Often designed to be highly sensitive to small pressure changes, strain gauges are extremely useful in a diverse range of operations. One such example is their frequent use in aerospace applications, where highly precise sensors can be used to measure stress on crucial components like vessel wings. Without strain gauges, it would be difficult to determine when the wings have endured too much stress and are at risk of breakage. If you would like to learn more about strain gauges, stay with us until the end as we discuss the working principles behind strain gauge use on aircraft and other heavy duty industrial machinery.

What Does a Strain Gauge Do?

At its base level, a strain gauge is a type of electrical sensor that is used to measure force or strain imposed on an object. Rather than simply observing physical changes, strain gauges rely on a phenomenon called the piezoresistance effect. Stemming from the Greek word “piezen,” meaning to squeeze or press, this effect refers to the way in which certain materials, including ceramic and some crystals, will exhibit a change in their electrical resistance as a result of strain. More specifically, whenever a conductor is stretched within the limits of its elasticity, it gets narrower and longer, affecting resistance.

Similarly, when it is compressed, a conductor gets shorter and broader, which also affects its resistance. As resistance is directly dependent on the length and cross-sectional area of the conductor, a change in shape will ultimately alter these dimensions and affect its resistance. Relying on the piezoresistance effect, a typical strain gauge will have a long, thin, conductive strip arranged in a zig-zag pattern of parallel lines. As a result of this design, the smallest change in strain will affect the conductive strip so that there is a measurable change in resistance.

Characteristics of Strain Gauges

Strain gauges are frequently used as a way to measure pressure for a number of key benefits that they provide. Firstly, as a result of their design, strain gauges are highly precise and are not sensitive to temperature changes. They are also ideal for long-distance communication as the output is an electrical signal which can be fed into a system. Also a result of their simple design, strain gauges have easy maintenance, as well as a long service life which makes them suitable for long-term installation. Lastly, they are fully encapsulated for protection against handling damage and have the option of remote digital readout.

Strain Gauge Applications

Due to their precision and durability, strain gauges are very commonly used in a large variety of applications. One such example is in aerospace applications where strain gauges are often used to test the results of wear on crucial load-bearing components. Using this information, operators can ensure that parts are maintained and replaced when required. Aside from in aerospace applications, strain gauges may also be used for cable bridges to evaluate the performance of new technologies employed during their construction. Strain gauges are also used on bridges for real-time monitoring, employed to alert responsible authorities once the bridge is approaching failure. Lastly, strain gauges have often been used to monitor railways and send out warnings in case of an emergency so that maintenance can be done early to minimize the impact of rail traffic.


Strain gauges are highly important devices used in monitoring the integrity of crucial components like dams, buildings, cable-stayed bridges, and more. By alerting an operator as soon as there is a deformity, these gauges can prevent accidents and permanent damage. As such, if you require a strain gauge for your operations, it is essential to source from a reputable manufacturer. On Integrated Parts Procurement, we proudly offer quality-tested industrial parts like strain gauges which have all been sourced from vetted members on our Approved Vendor List (AVL). To begin procuring the parts you require with ease, we invite you to explore our expansive catalog of available products which have been organized into relevant categories on our website. For more information, contact us at any time!


October 23, 2023

Semiconductor's Certifications and Memberships
The only independent
distributor with a
  • All Orders are fulfilled in the U.S.A.
  • All shipments must comply with U.S.A export laws.
  • No exceptions.

“We Proudly Support Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund that serves United States Military Personal experiencing the Invisible Wounds of War : Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). Please visit website (www.fallenheroesfund.org) and help in their valiant effort”.

Thank You for Visiting.

We Hope that You Will Visit Us Again the Next Time You Need NSN Parts and Make Us Your Strategic Purchasing Partner.

Request for Quote

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.