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Strength of Materials: Stress

Stress is a very important variable in solid mechanics. It is used to determine the amount of pressure that can be put on a part before it will start to yield as well as when it will ultimately break .

There are two general types of stresses that can be put on a part. These are shear stress and normal stress. When an object is under shear there is force on the part that is is applied perpendicular to a given axis. Normal stress on the other hand is cause by a force that is either pulling or pushing in parallel to a given axis. Refer to the image below.

Normal Force Shear Force Diagram

Both shear and normal stresses are caculated by dividing a force by the cross-sectional area of the part. Refer to the equations below.

Normal Stress Equation (1)

Shear Stress Equation (2)

Now besides the two general forms of stress, there are more specific names for stress. They are the following. For normal stress, there is axial stress , and normal bending stresses. For shear stress there is torsional stress, and transverse shear stress. Finally, in addition to these there are also stress concentrations . These will be discussed in other sections.

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