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“What is a strain gauge? Explanation of Purpose, Principle of Measurement, Merits, Calculation Formula and Examples of Use

What is a strain gauge?

What is a strain?

Strain is a measure of how much an object's shape or volume is displaced when a force is applied to it.

Strain gauge’s Principle and Mechanism of Measurement with Strain gauges

This section describes the measurement principle and mechanism of strain gauges, which measure strain, in comparison with a tool used for similar applications, the pressure measurement film.

What is a strain gauge?

Strain gauges were created by utilizing the principle of strain.

When a certain force is applied to a metal to make it expand or contract, the electrical resistance changes accordingly.
The strain gauge measures the amount of strain by reading this electrical resistance and amplifying it to an electrical output.

Purpose and Role of Strain gauges

Strain gauges are installed in Load Cells and other load measuring instruments.
The role of a strain gauge is to measure force by installing a strain gauge on a component called a "strain generator," which generates strain due to force, measuring the degree of strain and converting it into an electrical signal.

Load cells in which these strain gauges are used are often used together with “Prescale," a film that measures pressure.

Advantages of strain gauges

Load Cells using strain gauges can be used to measure the load value applied to an object, while Prescale measures surface pressure

Strain gauge Calculation Formula

Strain can be obtained by the following formula.

ΔR (resistance change) ÷ R (original resistance) = K (gauge factor, proportionality constant) × ε (strain)

Strain gauge Applications

Here are some examples of using load cells with strain gauges.

Roller (nip) load value

E.g. Dry film lamination adhesion process in substrate manufacturing

Load Cell

Check load values at both ends of the roller


Insert Prescale between rollers and visually or quantitatively check pressure values, roller tilt, wattage, roller condition, etc. based on coloration.

Nip roller application

Load value at stacking 

E.g. Stacking process in substrates or multilayer ceramic devices manufacturing

Load Cell

Check the load value of the shaft of a lamination press.


Insert Prescale between the lamination press and the component to visually or quantitatively check for fragmentation, distribution, foreign matter, etc. on the press surface based on the coloring condition.

Stacking application

Contact condition 

E.g. Crimping process with wafer bonding equipment in semiconductor manufacturing 

Load Cell

Check the load value at the axis of the crimping jig


Place Prescale between the material to be crimped and the jig, and visually or quantitatively check the parallelism of the jig, pressure irregularity, load value, etc. based on the coloration.

Contact condition application

E.g. Sealing process of outer packaging materials or activation process in lithium-ion battery manufacturing

Load Cell

Check load values at heat seal bar or a jig


Visually or quantitatively check the parallelism of bars and jigs, pressure distribution, load values, etc., by placing a Prescale between the sealing bar and the sealing member or between the fixing jig and the pressurizing member.

Heat sealing application
Jig press application

Prescale to solve strain gauge problems

Strain gauge problems

A load cell equipped with a strain gauge can measure the force applied to that one point (one-dimensional), but it cannot see the pressure applied to a surface (two-dimensional).

If the pressure value on a surface is not controlled, it is not possible to grasp the inclination of the equipment or the overall trend, which may lead to product defects.

This is where the pressure measurement film "Prescale" comes in.