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Strength of Materials: Strain

Strain is a unitless number that is used to determine how much an object will deflect due to a given stress. There are few reasons why it might be important to determine the strain on a part due to a given load. First, if an object deflects to much due to a load, it could interfere with other parts. Also, another reason why strain in important is because it can be used to calculate a stress during an experiment. Hooke's law would be used to calculate the stress due to a given strain as seen in the equation below.

Hook's Law Equation (1)

To calculate strain, the change in length of the part needs to be determined due to the applied load. This is than divided by the original length of the part. See the equations below.

Normal Strain Equation (2)

Shear Strain Equation (3)

Now in real life why are the above equations important? The answer to this is simple. During an experiment it is easier to determine the change of length of part due to loading by using a strain gauge. These values would than be used to determine the stress on the part, which can than be used to validate your analytical analysis.

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