In continuum mechanics, stress is a physical quantity that expresses the internal forces that neighboring particles of a continuous material exert on each other, while strain is the measure of the deformation of the material. Stress analysis is a primary task for civil, mechanical and aerospace engineers involved in the design fundamentals of rock mechanics jaeger and cook pdf structures of all sizes, such as tunnels, bridges and dams, aircraft and rocket bodies, mechanical parts, and even plastic cutlery and staples. Stress analysis is also used in the maintenance of such structures, and to investigate the causes of structural failures.
Typically, the starting point for stress analysis are a geometrical description of the structure, the properties of the materials used for its parts, how the parts are joined, and the maximum or typical forces that are expected to be applied to the structure. The output data is typically a quantitative description of how the applied forces spread throughout the structure, resulting in stresses, strains and the deflections of the entire structure and each component of that structure. The analysis may consider forces that vary with time, such as engine vibrations or the load of moving vehicles. In that case, the stresses and deformations will also be functions of time and space.
Stress analysis may be performed through classical mathematical techniques, analytic mathematical modelling or computational simulation, experimental testing, or a combination of methods. The term stress analysis is used throughout this article for the sake of brevity, but it should be understood that the strains, and deflections of structures are of equal importance and in fact, an analysis of a structure may begin with the calculation of deflections or strains and end with calculation of the stresses. Stress analysis is specifically concerned with solid objects. The study of stresses in liquids and gases is the subject of fluid mechanics.
Stress analysis adopts the macroscopic view of materials characteristic of continuum mechanics, namely that all properties of materials are homogeneous at small enough scales. Thus, even the smallest particle considered in stress analysis still contains an enormous number of atoms, and its properties are averages of the properties of those atoms. In stress analysis one normally disregards the physical causes of forces or the precise nature of the materials.
Instead, one assumes that the stresses are related to strain of the material by known constitutive equations. By Newton’s laws of motion, any external forces that act on a system must be balanced by internal reaction forces, or cause the particles in the affected part to accelerate.
In a solid object, all particles must move substantially in concert in order to maintain the object’s overall shape. It follows that any force applied to one part of a solid object must give rise to internal reaction forces that propagate from particle to particle throughout an extended part of the system.
The fundamental problem in stress analysis is to determine the distribution of internal stresses throughout the system, given the external forces that are acting on it. In principle, that means determining, implicitly or explicitly, the Cauchy stress tensor at every point.
The same net external force will have a different effect on the local stress depending on whether it is concentrated or spread out. In mechanical and aerospace engineering, however, stress analysis must often be performed on parts that are far from equilibrium, such as vibrating plates or rapidly spinning wheels and axles.
In those cases, the equations of motion must include terms that account for the acceleration of the particles. In structural design applications, one usually tries to ensure the stresses are everywhere well below the yield strength of the material. In the case of dynamic loads, the material fatigue must also be taken into account. However, these concerns lie outside the scope of stress analysis proper, being covered in materials science under the names strength of materials, fatigue analysis, stress corrosion, creep modeling, and other.