How to measure the strength of rubber bands

Written by mark fitzpatrick
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How to measure the strength of rubber bands
Rubber band strength is measured by the band's elasticity. (Rubber Bands image by MrGreenBug from

Rubber band elasticity reveals the general strength of a band. The more elastic the band, the stronger the band is for everyday use. Companies and manufacturers test the elasticity of rubber bands before the bands are sold to market. If you want to test the elasticity of a rubber band, there are a few experiments you can implement to measure strength.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pot
  • Rubber band
  • Scissors
  • Graduated cylinder
  • Steel weight
  • Skewer
  • Ruler
  • Thermometer

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  1. 1

    Cut the rubber band so it is no longer in a circle. Tie one end of the rubber to the steel weight and another end to the skewer.

  2. 2

    Boil water in a small pot. Pour the boiling water into the graduated cylinder.

  3. 3

    Place a ruler behind the graduated cylinder.

  4. 4

    Drop the weighted end of the rubber band into the boiling water. Lay the skewer across the top of the cylinder.

  5. 5

    Measure the length of the rubber band in the boiling water. Safely put the thermometer in the water. Although the water is set at a boiling temperature, the removal from the heat source should make the temperature fall slowly.

  6. 6

    Add ice water to the cylinder. Note both the length of the stretched rubber band and the rate of temperature decrease. It will take a few minutes to cool the water from a boiling temperature to room temperature.

  7. 7

    Calculate your results and observations. The rubber should contract, pulling up the weight when the water is at boiling temperature. As the water cools, the rubber should expand, lowering the weight. The rubber should stretch and be longer as the container cools. The greater the difference between the contracted length and the stretched weight, the stronger the rubber band.

Tips and warnings

  • Investigate the rubber band first. If there are cracks in the rubber band, then the elasticity of the rubber band is most likely weak. Do not use such a rubber band for the experiment.
  • Make sure the skewer is long enough to sit on top of the graduated cylinder. If the weight is bending the skewer, put an adhesive around the skewer connecting it to the graduated cylinder.

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