ASTM C1211 - 13

    Standard Test Method for Flexural Strength of Advanced Ceramics at Elevated Temperatures

    Active Standard ASTM C1211 | Developed by Subcommittee: C28.01

    Book of Standards Volume: 15.01


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    ASTM C1211

    Significance and Use

    4.1 This test method may be used for material development, quality control, characterization, and design data generation purposes. This test method is intended to be used with ceramics whose flexural strength is 50 MPa ( 7 ksi) or greater.

    4.2 The flexure stress is computed based on simple beam theory, with assumptions that the material is isotropic and homogeneous, the moduli of elasticity in tension and compression are identical, and the material is linearly elastic. The average grain size should be no greater than 1/50 of the beam thickness. The homogeneity and isotropy assumptions in the test method rule out the use of it for continuous fiber-reinforced composites for which Test Method C1341 is more appropriate.

    4.3 The flexural strength of a group of test specimens is influenced by several parameters associated with the test procedure. Such factors include the testing rate, test environment, specimen size, specimen preparation, and test fixtures. Specimen and fixture sizes were chosen to provide a balance between the practical configurations and resulting errors as discussed in Test Method C1161, and Refs (1-3).4 Specific fixture and specimen configurations were designated in order to permit the ready comparison of data without the need for Weibull size scaling.

    4.4 The flexural strength of a ceramic material is dependent on both its inherent resistance to fracture and the size and severity of flaws. Variations in these cause a natural scatter in test results for a sample of test specimens. Fractographic analysis of fracture surfaces, although beyond the scope of this test method, is highly recommended for all purposes, especially if the data will be used for design as discussed in Ref (4) and Practices C1322 and C1239.

    4.5 This method determines the flexural strength at elevated temperature and ambient environmental conditions at a nominal, moderately fast testing rate. The flexural strength under these conditions may or may not necessarily be the inert flexural strength. Flexure strength at elevated temperature may be strongly dependent on testing rate, a consequence of creep, stress corrosion, or slow crack growth. If the purpose of the test is to measure the inert flexural strength, then extra precautions are required and faster testing rates may be necessary.

    Note 6Many ceramics are susceptible to either environmentally-assisted slow crack growth or thermally activated slow crack growth. Oxide ceramics, glasses, glass ceramics, and ceramics containing boundary phase glass are particularly susceptible to slow crack growth. Time dependent effects that are caused by environmental factors (e.g. water as humidity in air) may be minimized through the use of inert testing atmosphere such as dry nitrogen gas or vacuum. Alternatively, testing rates faster than specified in this standard may be used if the goal is to measure the inert strength. Thermally activated slow crack growth may occur at elevated temperature even in inert atmospheres. Testing rates faster than specified in this standard should be used if the goal is to measure the inert flexural strength. On the other hand, many ceramics such as boron carbide, silicon carbide, aluminum nitride and many silicon nitrides have no sensitivity to slow crack growth at room or moderately elevated temperatures and for such materials, the flexural strength measured under in laboratory ambient conditions at the nominal testing rate is the inert flexural strength.

    4.6 The three-point test configuration exposes only a very small portion of the specimen to the maximum stress. Therefore, three-point flexural strengths are likely to be much greater than four-point flexural strengths. Three-point flexure has some advantages. It uses simpler test fixtures, it is easier to adapt to high temperature, and it is sometimes helpful in Weibull statistical studies. However, four-point flexure is preferred and recommended for most characterization purposes.

    4.7 The three-point test configuration exposes only a very small portion of the specimen to the maximum stress. Therefore, three-point flexural strengths are likely to be much greater than four-point flexural strengths. Three-point flexure has some advantages. It uses simpler test fixtures, it is easier to adapt to high temperature, and it is sometimes helpful in Weibull statistical studies. However, four-point flexure is preferred and recommended for most characterization purposes.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers determination of the flexural strength of advanced ceramics at elevated temperatures.2 Four-point-1/4 point and three-point loadings with prescribed spans are the standard as shown in Fig. 1. Rectangular specimens of prescribed cross-section are used with specified features in prescribed specimen-fixture combinations. Test specimens may be 3 by 4 by 45 to 50 mm in size that are tested on 40 mm outer span four-point or three-point fixtures. Alternatively, test specimens and fixture spans half or twice these sizes may be used. The test method permits testing of machined or as-fired test specimens. Several options for machining preparation are included: application matched machining, customary procedures, or a specified standard procedure. This test method describes the apparatus, specimen requirements, test procedure, calculations, and reporting requirements. The test method is applicable to monolithic or particulate- or whisker-reinforced ceramics. It may also be used for glasses. It is not applicable to continuous fiber-reinforced ceramic composites.

    1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. The values given in parentheses are for information only.

    1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    Military Standard

    MIL-STD 1942(A) Flexural Strength of High Performance Ceramics at Ambient Temperature Available from Standardization Documents Order Desk, DODSSP, Bldg. 4, Section D, 700 Robbins Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19111-5098, http://www.dodssp.daps.mil. This document is a 1990 update of the original MIL-STD 1942(MR), dated November 1983.

    ASTM Standards

    C1161 Test Method for Flexural Strength of Advanced Ceramics at Ambient Temperature

    C1239 Practice for Reporting Uniaxial Strength Data and Estimating Weibull Distribution Parameters for Advanced Ceramics

    C1322 Practice for Fractography and Characterization of Fracture Origins in Advanced Ceramics

    C1341 Test Method for Flexural Properties of Continuous Fiber-Reinforced Advanced Ceramic Composites

    C1368 Test Method for Determination of Slow Crack Growth Parameters of Advanced Ceramics by Constant Stress-Rate Strength Testing at Ambient Temperature

    C1465 Test Method for Determination of Slow Crack Growth Parameters of Advanced Ceramics by Constant Stress-Rate Flexural Testing at Elevated Temperatures

    E4 Practices for Force Verification of Testing Machines

    E220 Test Method for Calibration of Thermocouples By Comparison Techniques

    E230 Specification and Temperature-Electromotive Force (EMF) Tables for Standardized Thermocouples


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 81.060.99 (Other standards related to ceramics); 81.060.30 (Advanced ceramics)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/C1211

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