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What are strain gauges and what types of strain gauges exist? 

On this page you will find a lot of information about strain gauges. Zemic is a leading manufacturer and designer of strain gauges, loadcells and force sensors. If you have any questions, we at Zemic Europe will be happy to help. Please feel free to contact us.

A strain gauge is an electrical component which converts deformation into an electrical resistance change. The deformation can be measured by means of tension, compression, torsion, shearing or bending situations. The electrical resistance of most strain gauges is changing because of mechanical strain, thermal strain or residual strain. By applying a strain gauge to a material, we can measure stress in the material, changes in shape or when strain occurs. 

What kind of strain gauges exist?

Zemic is a leading manufacturer and designer of strain gauges and force sensors. We offer a full range of strain gauges. We define different types of strain gauges based on the geometry. The geometry of the grid defines the type of strain gauge.


Linear strain gauges  lineair straingauge   Membrane Rosette strain gauges Membrane Rosette strain gauges
Double linear strain gauges double linear straingauge        Full bridge strain gauges Full bridge strain gauges 
Shear strain gauges shear straingauge    Half bridge strain gauges Half bridge strian gauge  
Columnar strain gauges columnar strain gauge   45°-Rosette, 3 weighing directions 45°-Rosette, 3 weighing directions
90°-Rosette, 2 weighing directions 90°-Rosette, 2 weighing directions      

Strain gauge characteristics

At Zemic we have our strain gauge designation system. Besides the geometry, you can choose the: 

- Grid Material; Constantan foil, Karma foil or special purpose foil.
- Type of backing material; Modified phenolic, Polyimide, Phenolic-Acetal, Special PEEK film, etc.
- Rated Resistance; vary from 60 Ohm till 4000 Ohm
- Length of the sensitivity grid in mm
- Self temperature or self elastic modulus compensation code.

Explanation of some characteristics:

Grid and backing material

A strain gauge always consists of a backing layer and a grid made of alloy. The backing foil will be connected to a structure or element from which the strain needs to be measured.

There are two different kinds of standard grid materials available at Zemic; constantan and karma alloys. The grid pattern is photo etched on a non-conductive backing foil.

Constantan is an alloy consisting of copper and nickel. Constantan is the alloy which is mostly used as an alloy grid. This is because the alloy offers the best combination of alloy properties. Karma is an alloy consisting of chrome and nickel. The main benefit of this material is the high fatigue factor. Karma alloy can also be used in high temperature environments.

Backing layers are offered from polymide, phenolic, phenolic resin, epoxy resin with glass fibres, polymide with glass fibres and polyurethane.

The material we use for a certain strain gauge is specified in the strain gauge naming system. When you have the strain gauge description, you can identify all specific materials.

Rated resistance

The rated resistance vary from 60 Ohm till 4000 Ohm. The most common values used for strain gauges are 120, 350 and 1000 Ohm.


The application for which the strain gauge is required may also determine the type required.

We offer standard strain gauges and we also offer strain gauges for the following specific purposes:

- Sensor production
- High temperatures
- Under water (500m)
- High elongation

How do I connect a strain gauge?

A strain gauge is always connected with wires. Depending on your application, expertise and time we can deliver different kinds of strain gauges;

- With exposed solder tabs. This will enable you to solder the wires your self.
- With solder tin dots.
- With pre-assembled wires. The different kind of wires we offer are standard lead wire, PVC lead wires, belt lead wires, column lead wires, varnish wrapped wires and high temperature lead wires.

If you have any specific requirements, please let us know. Our strain gauge experts are ready for your inquiry:

Contact us

How are strain gauges used?

When you combine several strain gauges you create a bridge of Wheatstone. In this configuration of four, or a multiple of four, strain gauges are used. This is the principle we use to build our Zemic strain gauge sensors. This kind of strain gauge sensor is called a load cell or force sensor.

We produce strain gauges for our customers and we use our strain gauges for our own sensor production as well. To get a good understanding of the series we deliver please read our blog: “What are strain gauges made of and how to select the right thermal expansion coefficient?

Example of how strain gauges are used

We publish new case studies on a regular basis. Each case study is about force measurement and how Zemic contributed in a project. A nice example of a case study where strain gauges contributed to a great cause is the one of Project March.

Project March is a team of the TU Delft that develops the Exoskeleton. This is a motorized robotic suit, that can be used to help people with a spinal cord injury to stand up and walk again. They goal is to help people with a Spinal cord injury to fully participate in daily activities. In this way the exoskeleton contributes to their quality of life.

During the development of the exoskeleton, the forces on the frame are also examined whilst the pilot controls it. These forces are measured by using strain gauges. Please read here all about why Project March used Zemic Strain gauges in the development of the exoskeleton.


Want to read more about strain gauges? Download our whitepaper:

Download whitepaper   

About Zemic Europe

We strongly believe that our focus on creating value for our customers will help them to differentiate themselves in their market. Our good quality /price ratio is not the only reason why customers choose for Zemic Europe. Their choice is also based on our:

- customer service

- fast delivery times

- wide program of sensors

- the ability to design custom made sensors

All these factors contribute to creating a long term successful relationship.

Zemic Europe is your partner for force measurement. You can find our strain gauges here.


Product Review:

  "We are continuously developing our exoskeleton. Our knowledge of the application combined with your knowledge of strain gauges and experience in the field of force measurement, resulted in an optimized custom made strain gauge. Very happy with the pro active support, service and quick delivery!"



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