You are on page 1of 5

# 9/2/2014

## Stress and Strain: Basic Terms and Concepts

StressandStrain:BasicTermsandConcepts
Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay First-time Visitors: Please visit Site Map and Disclaimer. Use "Back" to return here.

Units

UsingUnitsinCalculations
Thefundamentalruleinusingunitsincalculationsisthatunitsobeythesamealgebraicrulesasother quantities Example:ConvertingTraditionalDensitytoSIdensity Densityisconventionallyrepresentedasgramspercubiccentimeter.HowdowerepresentdensityintheSI system? 1gram/cm3= (0.001kg)/(.01m)3= 103kg/106m3= 1000kg/m3 Thus,toconverttraditionaltoSIdensity,multiplyby1000.Thus,2.7gm/cm3=2700kg/m3,etc. Example:PressureBeneathaStoneBlock What'sthepressurebeneathagraniteblock20meterslong,15meterswideand10metershigh,with
http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/structge/stress.htm 1/5

9/2/2014

## Stress and Strain: Basic Terms and Concepts

density2.7gm/cm3? First,wefindthemassoftheblock.Massisvolumetimesdensity or20x15x10m3x2700kg/m3=8.1x106kg. Notethatwehavem3timeskg/m3,andthem3termscancelouttoleavethecorrectunit,kilograms. Nowtheforcetheblockexertsisgivenbymasstimesacceleration,inthiscasetheaccelerationofgravity, or9.8m/sec2. Thustheforcetheblockexertsis8.1x106kgx9.8m/sec2,or7.9x107kgm/sec2. ReferringtotheSIunitslistedabove,weseethattheseareindeedthecorrectunitsforforce.Theblock exerts7.9x107newtonsofforceonthegroundbeneathit. Thepressuretheblockexertsisforcedividedbyarea,or7.9x107newtons/(20mx15m)=265,000 pascals(verifythattheunitsarecorrect).Thisisonly2.65bars,thepressurebeneath27metersofwater. Scubadiverscanstandthatpressureeasily,butnobodywouldwanttolieunderatenmeterthickslabof rock.Thisshouldbotheryou. Itshouldbeintuitivelyobviousthatthepressurewillbethesameregardlessoftheareaoftheblock.Can youshowwhythisisso?

ConversionFactors
Oftenstudentsfindithardtodecidewhethertomultiplyordividebyaconversionfactor.Forexample,one meter=3.28feet.Toconvert150feettometers,doyoumultiplyordivideby3.28? Ifyouthinkoftheconversionfactorasmerelyanumber,itcanbeapuzzle.Butconsider: 1meter=3.28feet.Therefore1m/3.28feet=1and3.28feet/1m=1 Conversionfactorsarenotjustnumbers,butunitstoo.Everyconversionfactor,withunitsincluded, equalsunity.Thatpartaboutincludingunitsisallimportant.So,givenaconversionproblem,usethe conversionfactortoeliminateunwantedunits,producedesiredunits,orboth. Toconvert150feettometers,wewanttogetridoffeetandobtainmeters.Theconversionfactoris3.28 feet/1m.Multiplyinggivesus492feet2/m2.It'sperfectlycorrectitmightbeavalidpartofsomeother calculationbutnotwhatweneedhere.Weneedtogetridoffeetandobtainmeters,whichmeanswe needmetersinthenumerator(upstairs)andfeetinthedenominator(downstairs). 150feetx1m/2.38feet=45.7meters.Feetcancelout,leavinguswithonlymeters. Amorecomplexexample:convert10milesperhourtometerspersecond.Here,noneoftheunitswe wantinthefinalanswerarepresentintheinitialquantity.Butweknow: 1mile=5280feet 1meter=3.28feet 1hour=60minutes 1minute=60seconds Wewanttogetridofmilesandhoursandgetmetersandseconds.Sowewantourconversionfactorsto eliminatemilesandhours: 10mi/hrx(5280feet/1mi)x(1hr/60min)
http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/structge/stress.htm 2/5

9/2/2014

## Stress and Strain: Basic Terms and Concepts

Also,wewantourendresulttobeinmeters/secondsoatsomepointwewillhavetohave Somethingx(1m/3.28feet)x(1min/60sec)Thisistheonlywaytogetm/secusingtheconversionfactors given.Wewill,ofcourse,havetogetridofthefeetandminutessomehow. Puttingitalltogetherweget 10mi/hrx(5280feet/1mi)x(1hr/60min)x(1m/3.28feet)x(1min/60sec)=4.47m/sec Milescancel,hourscancel,feetcancel,minutescancel,andweendupwithm/sec,justwhatweneeded. Somepeopleprefertouseagridarrangementasshownbelow: 10miles 1hour 5280feet 1mile 1m 3.28feet 1hour 60min 1min 60sec = 4.47m 1sec

Inthisexamplewegetridofmilesandfeettogetmetersfirst,thenwegetridofhoursandminutestoget seconds.

StressTerms
Stressisdefinedasforceperunitarea.Ithasthesameunitsaspressure,andinfactpressureisonespecial varietyofstress.However,stressisamuchmorecomplexquantitythanpressurebecauseitvariesboth withdirectionandwiththesurfaceitactson. Compression Stressthatactstoshortenanobject. Tension Stressthatactstolengthenanobject. NormalStress Stressthatactsperpendiculartoasurface.Canbeeithercompressionalortensional. Shear Stressthatactsparalleltoasurface.Itcancauseoneobjecttoslideoveranother.Italsotendstodeform originallyrectangularobjectsintoparallelograms.Themostgeneraldefinitionisthatshearactstochange theanglesinanobject. Hydrostatic Stress(usuallycompressional)thatisuniforminalldirections.Ascubadiverexperienceshydrostaticstress. Stressintheearthisnearlyhydrostatic.Thetermforuniformstressintheearthislithostatic. DirectedStress Stressthatvarieswithdirection.Stressunderastoneslabisdirected;thereisaforceinonedirectionbut nocounteractingforcesperpendiculartoit.Thisiswhyapersonunderathickslabgetssquashedbuta scubadiverunderthesamepressuredoesn't.Thescubadiverfeelsthesameforceinalldirections. Ingeologyweneverseestress.Weonlyseetheresultsofstressasitdeformsmaterials.Evenifwewere touseastraingaugetomeasureinsitustressintherocks,wewouldnotmeasurethestressitself.We wouldmeasurethedeformationofthestraingauge(that'swhyit'scalleda"straingauge")andusethatto inferthestress.

StrainTerms
Strainisdefinedastheamountofdeformationanobjectexperiencescomparedtoitsoriginalsizeand
http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/structge/stress.htm 3/5

9/2/2014

## Stress and Strain: Basic Terms and Concepts

shape.Forexample,ifablock10cmonasideisdeformedsothatitbecomes9cmlong,thestrainis(10 9)/10or0.1(sometimesexpressedinpercent,inthiscase10percent.)Notethatstrainisdimensionless. LongitudinalorLinearStrain Strainthatchangesthelengthofalinewithoutchangingitsdirection.Canbeeithercompressionalor tensional. Compression Longitudinalstrainthatshortensanobject. Tension Longitudinalstrainthatlengthensanobject. Shear Strainthatchangestheanglesofanobject.Shearcauseslinestorotate. InfinitesimalStrain Strainthatistiny,afewpercentorless.Allowsanumberofusefulmathematicalsimplificationsand approximations. FiniteStrain Strainlargerthanafewpercent.Requiresamorecomplicatedmathematicaltreatmentthaninfinitesimal strain. HomogeneousStrain Uniformstrain.Straightlinesintheoriginalobjectremainstraight.Parallellinesremainparallel.Circles deformtoellipses.Notethatthisdefinitionrulesoutfolding,sinceanoriginallystraightlayerhastoremain straight. InhomogeneousStrain Howrealgeologybehaves.Deformationvariesfromplacetoplace.Linesmaybendanddonotnecessarily remainparallel.

TermsforBehaviorofMaterials
Elastic Materialdeformsunderstressbutreturnstoitsoriginalsizeandshapewhenthestressisreleased.There isnopermanentdeformation.Someelasticstrain,likeinarubberband,canbelarge,butinrocksitis usuallysmallenoughtobeconsideredinfinitesimal. Brittle Materialdeformsbyfracturing.Glassisbrittle.Rocksaretypicallybrittleatlowtemperaturesand pressures. Ductile Materialdeformswithoutbreaking.Metalsareductile.Manymaterialsshowbothtypesofbehavior.They maydeforminaductilemannerifdeformedslowly,butfractureifdeformedtooquicklyortoomuch. Rocksaretypicallyductileathightemperaturesorpressures. Viscous Materialsthatdeformsteadilyunderstress.Purelyviscousmaterialslikeliquidsdeformundereventhe smalleststress.Rocksmaybehavelikeviscousmaterialsunderhightemperatureandpressure. Plastic Materialdoesnotflowuntilathreshholdstresshasbeenexceeded. Viscoelastic Combineselasticandviscousbehavior.Modelsofglacioisostasyfrequentlyassumeaviscoelasticearth: thecrustflexeselasticallyandtheunderlyingmantleflowsviscously. ReturntoCourseSyllabus ReturntoTechniquesManualIndex ReturntoProfessorDutch'sHomePage
http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/structge/stress.htm 4/5

9/2/2014

## Stress and Strain: Basic Terms and Concepts

Created23February1999,LastUpdate24February1999 NotanofficialUWGreenBaysite

http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/structge/stress.htm

5/5