I tested the relative strength of several well known bends. Only relative testing was performed, because this could be done without sophisticated equipment. The following bend were tested: Bowline, Eskimo Bowline, Fishermans bend, Carrick bend, Ashely's 1452, Blood knot, Zeppelin Bend and Harness bend.
The testing was carried out as follows: Good quality cotton thread was used. Two knots were made on the same piece of string, creating a loop of thread. Jerking was applied by inserting two, smooth surfaced sticks into the loop. This was to minimise the difference of stress on the knots. Several jerks of increasing force were applied until one of the bends broke. The procedure was repeated until one of the knots survived three times.
Here are the experimental results. First displaying the two knots in case, and the score.
Thus according to the test the knots in the order of descending strength are:
I'm pleased to see '1452' did so well, this beeing my favourite bend. It seems, that slightly elastic bends did well, maybe I should test also these bends by applying increasing stress smoothly without the jerks.