You are on page 1of 13

Engineering Tensors

A BEH430 review session

by Thomas Gervais
Long, RR, Mechanics of Solids and Fluids, Prentice-Hall, 1960, pp 1-32
Deen, WD, Analysis of transport phenomena, Oxford, 1998, p. 551-563
Goodbody, AM, Cartesian tensors: With applications to Mechanics, Fluid
Mechanics and Elasticity, John Wiley & Sons, 1982

Friday November 16, 2001

16h30 -Muddy Charles
Scalars, Vectors & Tensors
Scalar: Quantity that is invariant in itself (does not depend on any referential) Also known
as a zeroth order tensor.

Ex: mass (non relativistic referentials), Temperature, Energy, Concentration

Vector: Quantity that possess both a direction and a magnitude located somewhere in
space. It is a first order tensor.
v = a1e1 + a2 e2 + a3e3 = a '1 e'1 + a ' 2 e'2 +a '3 e'3
Note: A vector possesses two invariants with respect to coordinate space:
v , and its direction.
Its magnitude, v

Ex: Force, Electric field, Flux

Higher order tensors
2nd order tensor: An ordered set of nine numbers, each of which possessing 2
directions. An helpful analogy would be to imagine a vector whose three components
each would be a vector. A tensor of order n can be reprensented by 3n numbers in
tridimensional space. It is a matrix of dimension n. A 2nd possesses 3 invariants which
are the coefficients of its characteristic polynomial arising from det T I = 0 . The
trace and the determinant of the tensor are two of its 3 invariants. In general, a tensor
of order n will have n+1 invariants.

Physical applications of tensors:

Discipline Phenomenon Quantity Example
Physics: E-M Light transmission in Refraction index n Optically active
anisotropic media polarizers
Dynamics Angular momentum Moment of Inertia I Gyroscope
Fluid mechanics Hindered transport in Effective Ca++ diffusion in
porous media permeability K muscles
Solid mechanics Tensile properties of Youngs modulus E Duct Tape,
anisotropic solids Muscles
Dyadic Product (Tensor Product)
This the general form of a tensor product:

A Scalar
(0th order tensor)
v v v v
A = A1e1 + A2e2 + A3e3 Vector
(1st order tensor)
v v v v v v v v
A1 = A11e1 + A21e2 + A31e3 A3 = A13e1 + A23e2 + A33e3 2nd order
v v v v tensor
A2 = A12 e1 + A22 e2 + A32 e3
By dividing the Aij in three vector components, 3 3

we get a 3rd order tensor, and so on... A= Aijeie j

i= 1 j =1
z z
Notation v
v 3 3
A= Ai ei = A'i e'i
i =1 i= 1
The projection of the vector on the axis, x, y, z can each
be decomposed in the basis (x, y, z). The relation y
between each of the components is then given by: x x
Ax = a11 A' x + a21 A' y + a31 A' z Ai = aij A' j
j =1
Ay = a12 A' x + a22 A' y + a32 A' z
Az = a13 A' x + a23 A' y + a33 A' z Ai = aij A' j (Einsteins notation)

3 3
a11 a12 a13

a= aijei e j = a21 a22 a23

i =1 j =1
a31 a32 a33
Dot and Cross products
Definition of dot product:
v v 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
A B = Ai ei B j e j = Ai B j ei e j = Ai B j ij = Ai Bi
i= 1 j =1 i= 1 j =1 i =1 j = 1 i= 1
Where ij is the Kronecker delta, a 2nd
order tensor.
Does it hold in tensor notation? 3
Lets test it using a change of coordinate: Ai = aij A' j
j =1
v v 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
A B = aki A'k ek alj B'l el = akialj A'k B'l kl
i=1 k =1 j= 1 l =1 i =1 j =1 k =1 l =1

If what we said about the conservation of the magnitude of a vector from

v v 3 3
one cartesian referential to another, then A B = Ai Bi = A'k B'k
i =1 k =1

For this to be true, we need: ij = aki alj kl

(Einstein notation)
Dot and Cross product (cont.)
ij = aki alj kl expanded yields:
a112 + a122 + a132 = 1 a21a31 + a22 a32 + a23a33 = 0
a212 + a22
2 2
+ a23 = 1 a31a11 + a32 a12 + a33a13 = 0
a312 + a322 + a332 = 1 a11a21 + a12 a22 + a13 a23 = 0
These are the normalization and the orthogonality conditions that any
orthonormal base respects.
Definition of cross product:
v v 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
A B = Ai ei B j e j = Ai B j ei e j = Ai B j ijk ek
i= 1 j=1 i =1 j = 1 i = 1 j= 1 k =1

Where ijk is called the Levi-Civita density and is the cross product
equivalent of the Kroneker delta, ij , for the dot product. It is a third order
tensor. 0, i=j, j=k, or i=k
ijk This is the famous
1, ijk= 123, 231, 312
right hand rule
-1, ijk= 132, 321, 213
Gradients and Divergence
v 3
f v 3
We know: f = x e j and A = Aiei
j 1 j i= 1
Q: What about the gradient of a vector A ?

A: The generalization of a vector provided by tensor analysis implies:

vv 3
3 3
A = x e j = x eie j A second order tensor!
j =1 j =
i 1 j 1 j =

The gradient of a tensor increases its order by one

Q: What about the divergence of a 2nd order tensor?

A: Using our definition of the dot product:

v 3 3
Tij 3
T = x ij ei e j = x ei A vector!
= =
i 1 j 1 j =
i 1 i

The divergence of a tensor decreases its order by one

Practical problem: How to set up a tensor
from physical reasoning?
Consider the following problem: We want to stretch a piece of anisotropic tissue
and find the components of the Youngs Moduli

v v

Apply a given displacement and compute the force as a function of the

angle (assuming constant strain and a Poisson coefficient of 0)
v y' v 2 2 2
u= ui ei E x' F= Fie'i = Eijuie j
i 1 2 i =1 i= 1 j =1

F1 E11 E12 u1
F2 E21 E22 u2
Practical problem: How to set up a tensor
from physical reasoning? (cont.)
We need to compute the 4 matrix elements:

F1 u1 : E11 = E x cos
F1 u2 : E12 = E x sin F1 E x cos E x sin u1
F2 u1 : E 21 = E y sin = E sin E y cos u2
F2 y
F2 u2 : E 22 = E y cos

We are measuring the magnitude of the force required to impose a unity

displacement in the x direction. 2

Effective modulus
Fx ' v
[Eij ]
= F = Fx2' + Fy2' 1.6

y' 0


v 1
0 0.5 1 1.5
F angle (rad)

= Eeff = E x2 cos 2 + E y2 sin 2 Normalized effective modulus as a

function of the angle for E2 double of E1
Same problem: other approach using tensors
v 2
y' v 2 2 2

u= ui ei E F= Fi e'i = E 'ij u ' j e' j

i 1 2 x' i =1 i= 1 j= 1
E1 E1 0
y E 'ij =
0 E2
u'i e'i = aiju j e j
j =1 v 2 2

cos sin
F= E 'ij aiju je j
i =1 j =1
aij =
sin cos

Q: Are expressions equivalent, i.e. E 'ij aij = Eij ?

E1 0 cos sin E1 cos E1 sin
E 'ij aij = =
A: Yes!
0 E2 sin cos E2 sin E2 cos
Fluid mechanics:
The stress and rate of strain tensors
z' v 3
A) Stress tensor v
y' S= Si ei
i =1
z v
S x' 3
y Si = n (Si ei )e j
j= 1
x Stress vector
B) Rate of strain tensor Sij = ij = n (S i ei )ei e j
v v v v v
v (r , t) v (r + r , t ) By Taylor expansion to the first order:
v v v v v vv v vv v t v
= v ( r , t ) + v v = r v ( r , t ) = ( v ( r , t ) ) r
vv v
v ( r , t ) is a tensor (gradient of a vector)!

vv t
1 vv t vv
e& = ( v ) + ( v ) ]
( v ) = e& + 2
1 vv t vv
( v ) ( v ) ] V orticity tensor
2nd order tensors establish relation between two sets of vectors.
Ex: Vectors in one cartesian space vs vectors in another, but ALSO
vectors from the displacement vector space to the force vector space
(as we just saw).
Higher order tensors fulfill the same role but with tensors instead
of vectors
The divergence of a tensor reduces its order by one. The gradient
of a tensor increases it order by one. The Curl of a tensor yields a
tensor of the same order.