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Parts of elastic systems are sometimes under stress before the addition of
external loads. Examples are temperature stresses in welded members,
bolted connections, prestressed concrete, etc. The efects of such stresses
can be mathematically quantifed with elastic theory, if it can be assumed
that the prestress is not severe enough to afect the material properties.
good example of this is a thic! cylinder sub"ected to an internal pressure
load. #f the cylinder is not prestressed, the inner surface of the vessel
reaches the elastic limit frst and determines the maximum load that may be
applied. #f the cylinder is prestressed, however, by shrin!ing on a "ac!et or
wrapping in wire under tension, then initially it is under compressive stress.
The internal pressure required to reverse this stress and produce a tensile
stress equal to the frst case is much greater than before. The result is a
much stronger vessel.
nother example is prestressed concrete. $oncrete %as do all brittle
materials& has a higher strength in compression than in tension. To allow the
material to handle tension loads %such as created by the bending of a road or
bridge component&, members are compressed using tension rods. The
tension loads seen are then at least partially carried by the reversal of stress,
rather than in tension of the material.
Prestress can also afect the vibration characteristics of a structure. Tension
tends to increase natural frequency, while compression tends to lower it. The
tension present in the strings of musical instruments is a good example of
'nder certain circumstances structures will fail by elastic instability. This
occurs when the load produces a ending or twisting moment that is
proportional to the deformation. The most common example is the Euler
column. #n this case, a slender column is loaded axially. The load results in
small de(ections, up to a critical load value. t this magnitude of load, the
member collapses. )ailure occurs even though the stress in the member
remained below the yield values. The mathematical equation for elastic
buc!ling of a long column is*
+here P , total load, , area of section, -.r , slenderness ratio, and $ is
the coe/cient of constraint %depends on end constraints 00 usually 1 or 2 is
used for end conditions that occur in practice. 3eference boo!s have
tabulated equations that cover a wide variety of geometric cases %non0
uniform cross0sections, tapered bars, etc.&, loadings, and end constraints.
4ther examples of this phenomenon are thin plates in compression, thin
cylinders under compression, etc. Elastic buc!ling behavior is only seen in
structures that are much longer in one or two directions than the other one
or two directions.
+hen columns %and thin plates, etc.& are short %or thic!& enough, these
structures can exhibit behavior that re(ects a combination of efects. The
slenderness ratio where this occurs starts roughly between 125 and 165. The
equation given no longer holds for these cases. )ormulas exist for fnding the
critical loading for these structures as well, but these equations are more
complicated, and contain terms that have been empirically ad"usted to agree
+hen a loads on a system result in the lac! of static equilibrium %where the
sum of all forces are 7ero&, we can say that dynamic efects are important.
4ften the inertial efects of the structure itself are important, when it moves
with appreciable velocity.
ll structures tend to vibrate with specifc mode shapes, at specifc
frequencies of vibration. These tendencies are termed the natural
frequencies of the structure, and are dependent on stifness and mass
+hen a structural member is excited with a dynamic load that acts with a
frequency near one of its8 natural frequencies, the resultant de(ections %and
stresses& can be very large. The inertia forces in the structure may become
important, as the spring0bac! forces of the structure tend to add to the efect
of the dynamic loads
4ften, the frst step in attac!ing a dynamic structural problem is to
determine the natural frequencies of the structure involved. This can be done
by hand calculations, or more li!ely, through fnite element analysis. The
natural frequencies are dependent on geometry, material, and constraints
only. They are independent of loading. fter fnding the natural frequencies,
it then must be determined whether or not the dynamic loads will tend to
excite these frequencies within the structure. #t is often valuable simply to
compare the frequencies of the loads to the natural modes directly.
The equilibrium equation for forces in an undamped simple harmonic
oscillator system is shown below*
m x88%t& 9 ! x%t& , 5
The solution to this problem is given by
x%t& , cos %ω t&
where is a constant that can be determined from the initial conditions. #t
can be written that*
9 ! & cos %ω t& , 5
This equation is good for any time t, only if the term in parenthesis is equal
to 7ero. )or this to be true, it means that the value of ω is given by
ω , %!.m&
where ω is !nown as the natural frequency, or fundamental frequency of the
system. :ote the dependence of the natural frequency on mass and
$hanges in temperature create strain, as given by the equation
ε , α ∆ T
where α is the thermal expansion coe/cient of the material, and ∆ T is the
change in temperature seen.
#f the member in question is restrained against expansion %or contraction&
due the temperature change, stress is created. This stress is equal to the
stress that would be created if an external force were to create the
deformation from the stress0free state to the constrained state.
;aterial properties often behave as functions of temperature. <enerally, the
modulus of elasticity will lessen in value with increasing temperature. This
efect can be important. ;ost )E programs provide for this type of input.
The input format is usually piece0wise linear %a table of values&, in which
linear interpolation is used between values, or a polynomial function.
4ften )E programs provide for using the results of thermal analysis as
temperature input to structrual problems. thermal simulation is performed
frst, to determine the temperature distribution in the structure. Then, the
output temperatures are applied to the structural model as input. The
resulting thermal load is equal to the diference %at every point in the
structure& from some reference temperature to the temperature of the
applied distribution. The load causes deformation goverenced by the
equation given above.
ll materials will brea! under numerous repetitions of a stress less than the
stress required to produce immediate failure. #t is common for structural
members to be sub"ected to load cycles repeated thousands or millions of
times. #n such cases rupture can occur at a stress much lower than the static
brea!ing strength 0 this is !nown as fatigue. fatigue failure is of a brittle
nature, even for materials that are normally ductile.
The number of loading cycles required to cause failure may be determined
experimentally. #f a number of tests are conducted using diferent levels of
stress, the resulting data can be plotted to create a useful graph. =uch a
graph is !nown as a σ 0n curve.
typical σ 0n curve for steel is shown below. luminum is also plotted on the
graph. The cycles n are plotted on a logarithmic scale because of the large
number of cycles required for failure.
3ecently, the microscopic cause of fatigue damage has been defned with
crac! initiation and crac! propagation theories.
Elastic deformation represents a change in the relative position of molecules.
Plastic deformation represents a permanent change in the relative positions
#n crystalline materials this permanent rearrangement consists largely of
group displacements of atoms in the crystal lattice slipping past one another
0 brittle fracture.
>uctile materials show the rearrangement in the shifting of molecular
positions, with the release of heat. (ow of material is seen, much li!e a
Plastic deformation before failure is much more pronounced in uniaxial
tension than in a ?> stress state. #n a uniaxial state, plastic deformation
behavior can be seen in the standard stress0strain diagram.
=ome )E codes allow for the use of material properties that are functions of
stress. 4ne common way this is handled is with a two0sloped curve, as
The stress0strain curve is approximated by two straight lines. The solution
using this material property must be an iterative one, because the material
property depends upon a result quantity, the strain. The solution is
performed in steps, using incremental amounts of load in each step. @efore
each new step, a chec! is made for each element that has a stress value
high enough to get assigned the plastic modulus.
#n reality, the stress strain curves of most materials are di/cult to fnd
tabulated in the nonlinear range. The solutions are generally much less
accurate %than standard linear solutions& because of this.
Experience has shown that for the design of equipment sub"ected to
sustained elevated temperatures, little reliance can be placed on the short0
term properties measured at those temperatures.
'nder the application of constant load at elevated temperatures, materials
show a gradual (ow or creep even for stresses below the proportional limit.
=imilar efects are seen in low0melting metals such as lead at room
graph of strain vs. time for any common metal shows that the creep graph
has three distinct sections, after an initial instantaneous elongation. These
illustrate the diferent processes present with creep, !nown as primary,
secondary, and tertiary creep.
=train0hardening of metal decreases creep rate in the primary creep region.
#n the secondary creep region, the material elongates at a steady rate. #n the
fnal phase, the tertiary creep region, elongation proceeds at an increasing
rate until failure %due to nec!ing and void formation&.