It seems that measuring the modulus of elasticity of a material always involves the strength of materials or linear elasticity approach, where they make some experimental measurements for variables such as applied force, strain, deflection/deformation, etc... and then use some linear elasticity solver to back out the strain value.

Are there any experimental devices that actually measure the modulus directly?

Edit 1:

I'm mostly interested in orthotropic materials. It's not very intuitive to me how Young's modulus is measured in orthotropic materials.

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    $\begingroup$ Measuring the applied force (to find stress = force / area) and the deformation (to find strain) is about as close as you get to measuring the modulus directly. For anisotropic materials, more indirect methods can be easier - for example, measure the frequency of different modes of vibration of a test piece of known size and orientation, and use that to calculate the various elastic constants for the material. $\endgroup$ – alephzero Aug 3 '19 at 22:09
  • $\begingroup$ @alephzero When you say "anisotropic," do you mean purely anisotropic, or do you include orthotropic, transversely isotropic, etc.. materials? Is the applied force and deformation method only applicable for isotropic materials? I don't think I see anyone using it for orthotropic materials. $\endgroup$ – anonuser01 Aug 4 '19 at 2:16

You will find a large number of standard tests for the elastic properties of anisotropic engineering materials (ususally composites) in the ASTM standards.

For rubber and other materials that can support large elastic stretches there are a few standard tests that can be extracted from Rubber standards(Mechanical Test Methods).

Other standards are available for soils and rocks and several specialized materials (e.g., foams, medical equipment, bones, etc.).


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