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Stress Concentration:

Whenever a machine component changes the shape of its cross distribution no longer holds good and the
neighborhood of the discontinuity is different. His irregularity in the stress distribution caused by abrupt
changes of form is called concentration. It occurs for all kinds of stresses in the presence of fillets,
notches, holes, keyways, splines, surface roughness or scratches etc.

Consider a member with different cross-section under a tensile load as shown in Fig.

In the part shown below, the tensile stress changes from 1=P/A1 to 2=P/A2 and, as A1>A2, 2 > 1.
Within the part, the internal stress gets redistributed from low to high value at the region where the
cross-sectional area changes. In this example, this redistribution occurs at the region of the fillet radius
joining the two geometric forms. If a large fillet radius is provided between the two sections, that is the
cross-sectional area is changed more gradually, then the internal stresses gets ample space to get
redistributed evenly. However, if the fillet radius is small, that is the change in shape is more abrupt,
then the internal stresses do not get enough space to get redistributed evenly. As a result of this, at the

base of the fillet in the smaller side, the actual stress becomes more than the theoretical stress (2=
P/A2). This increase in stress due to sudden change of geometric shape is called stress concentration.

Geometric stress concentration factor:-

To account for stress concentration effect, the actual maximum stresses have been determined either
experimentally or by using more sophisticated stress analysis methods, such as finite element analysis,
for common types of geometric features. Based on such calculations the geometric stress concentration
factors (K) are determined for these types of features. The stress concentration factor is defined as,

Similar to the fillet radius, holes, notches, or grooves also bring in sudden change in the geometric form.
This means all these features will also be associated with stress concentration effect. Generally, more
abrupt the change in geometric form, higher is the stress concentration effect. Because stress
concentration increases mechanical stress, a better design approach is to strive to reduce stress
concentration effect at the critical stressed areas.

The values of stress concentration are provided in chart forms. Each chart is for a specific combination
of (i) type of section, (ii) type of geometric feature and (iii) type of loading.

Determine the maximum theoretical stress and actual stress considering stress concentration effect in the
following loading condition:

32m Diameter of hole=4mm 4mm


The max stress will occur at the cross section with the hole. The area of the cross section:-

14mm 14mm


A=( ) =

Thus the max theoretical stress on the part is = = = . /

For actual stress, find stress Concentration factor K t

From figure

d/W = 4/32 = 0.125, the corresponding value of Kt = 2.63

Thus the actual stress Actual = Theoretical x Kt = 1095.834 N/mm2

Find the value of maximum stress on the fillet as shown in figure where D/d = 1.5. what is the part
Fs if the part is made of cast iron ; = .

The stress will be maximum at the top and bottom points, at the root of the fillets in the thinner
portion of the part. Equal tensile and compressive stress will be developed.
M = 2,250,000 N-mm

I = bd3/12 = 25*1143/12 = 3086550 mm4, y=114/2=57mm

Theoretical = M y/I = 2,250,000 * 57/3086550 = 41.55 MPa
Actual = Theoretical x Kt
From Figure

D/d = 1.5; r/d = 13/114 = 0.11 -> Kt = 1.8

Actual = Theoretical x Kt = = 41.55*1.8 = 74 MPa

Cast Iron is a brittle material. Thus the maximum normal stress theory is applicable.
Since, cast iron is weaker in tension,
Fs = ult/Actual= 200/74 = 2.7



Steady stress: In ductile materials, when stress exceeds yield strength (Syp) due to stress concentration
at a point, plastic deformation is initiated at that point. It has been observed that in such a situation the
plastic deformation proceeds in such a way that it reduces and ultimately eliminates the effect of stress
concentration. Plastic deformation due to stress concentration is limited in a small area does not
generally constitute failure of the part in most design situations. As a result of this, for ductile
materials, when the stress is applied gradually and the stress is steady (not changing too much),
stress concentration effects are neglected (K=1) in mechanical design calculations.

Impact loading: Instead of gradual loading, if the load is applied suddenly, such as an impact load, the
stress inside the material may reach to ultimate tensile strength (Su) due to stress concentration. The
critically stress point may not get enough time to plastically deform to mitigate the effect of stress
concentration. When stress reaches Su, a brittle failure occurs, that is a crack will form at the critically
stressed point. This crack will form a geometric discontinuity and will cause more stress concentration,
and as a result the crack will propagate and a rapid fracture of the part can occur. Thus, if there is an
impact load on ductile material, stress concentration effect must be considered.

Cold environment: A similar rapid fracture of a part may occur if the part operates at a low temperature
condition. At a low temperature ductile materials can fail as a brittle material; that is no yielding but
directly fracture; failure from formation of crack rather than a plastic deformation. Thus, if a part is
expected to operate in low temperature environment, geometric stress concentration factor should
be used to determine the actual stress, even if the part is made up of ductile material.

Cyclic stress: Another form of stress is cyclic stress where the direction of stress is continuously
changing from positive to negative stress throughout the life cycle of the part. Consider the axial stress
in the piston rod in a reciprocating compressor. As long as the compressor is running, in each forward
and backward stroke will induce compressive and tensile axial stress in the piston rod. Similar kind of
alternating stresses are also common for rotating shafts with bending load in one direction. The bending
stresses in the outer layer of the shaft alternates between tensile and compressive stress, as the
part rotates. For all gear, belt or chain drives, similar alternating bending stress may arise. Failure of a
ductile part due to purely cyclic stress occurs in a special way. The failure is called fatigue failure
and occurs at a stress level known as endurance strength (Se) of the material. We will learn more about
this fatigue loading in the next section. What is important at this point is that, the appearance of the
failure surface due to fatigue loading resembles brittle failure, even if the part is made of ductile
material. No plastic deformation is noticed at the failure initiation point, rather than the failure surface
appears to be initiated from a crack (separation of molecular plane). Due this type of failure
characteristics, we may intuitively conclude that stress concentration has an important role in failure for
cyclic loading.

Based on extensive testing of ductile materials in cyclic loading, it has been found out that the effect of
stress concentration in cyclic loading is not as pronounced as in static loading. In other words the
fatigue stress concentration factor (K f) has a lower value than the geometric stress concentration
factor (K). These two stress concentration factors are related to each other by a material property called
sensitivity index or notch sensitivity (q) in the following way:

The value of the q can vary between zero and 1.

When q=0, Kf =1, that is, no fatigue stress concentration effect
When q=1, Kf=K, that is, fatigue stress concentration has equal value of geometric stress
concentration factor.
The value of the sensitivity index of a material depends on two factors, the type of the material
and its micro structure. For some commonly used ductile materials q values are provided in table 2-6

in the textbook, which varies between 0.07 & 0.57. For other materials q values are available from
material handbooks. If q value is not readily available for a material, a conservative approach is to
use q=1, that is geometric and fatigue stress concentration factors to have the same value.

BRITTLE MATERIAL: Finally the application of stress concentration factors for brittle materials. As
the brittle materials always fail by propagation of crack (separation in atomic plane) and not by yielding
(plastic deformation), stress concentration factor will never be mitigated by plastic deformation. As a
result of this, designing with brittle materials, it requires the use of geometric stress concentration
factors to determine the actual stress at a point, for all kinds of loading situations.


In materials science, fatigue is the progressive and localized structural damage that occurs when a
material is subjected to cyclic loading. The nominal maximum stress values are less than the ultimate
tensile stress limit, and may be below the yield stress limit of the material.

Fatigue occurs when a material is subjected to repeated loading and unloading. If the loads are above a
certain threshold, microscopic cracks will begin to form at the stress concentrators such as the surface,
persistent slip bands (PSBs), and grain interfaces. Eventually a crack will reach a critical size, and the
structure will suddenly fracture. The shape of the structure will significantly affect the fatigue life;
square holes or sharp corners will lead to elevated local stresses where fatigue cracks can initiate. Round
holes and smooth transitions or fillets are therefore important to increase the fatigue strength of the

A load of insufficient magnitude to cause failure in a single application may lead to failure if it is
removed and reapplied repeatedly. This mechanism of failure is known as fatigue. In un-welded metals
and alloys the failure process consists of initiation of microscopic cracking, frequently at a surface
feature such as a change of section, followed by propagation, with each load cycle causing minute crack
extension. Fatigue cracks are in many cases very fine, remaining tightly closed at minimum load and
hence difficult to find by visual examination alone. As the crack extends, the remaining intact area of the
cross section reduces, possibly leading to complete fracture, or failure by another mode such as jamming
or seizure of a mechanism.

In welded components, pre-existing flaws provide sites for early fatigue crack formation. The fatigue
process then consists almost entirely of propagation, the initiation phase being much shorter or entirely
absent. Planar fabrication flaws such as lack of penetration or lack of fusion provide ideal sites for
fatigue cracking. Even joints proved free of fabrication flaws by non-destructive testing (NDT) will
contain microscopic planar features at the weld toe, for example entrapped slag intrusions, which allow
early fatigue cracking. As a result, the fatigue performance of welded joints is generally poor by
comparison with un-welded material. For example, in mild steel plate, the allowable fatigue stress range
for a typical fillet welded detail is roughly one third of that for the un-welded material.

Premature fatigue failure is prevented by careful attention to detail at the design stage to ensure that
cyclic stresses are sufficiently low to achieve the required endurance. Stress concentrations should be
avoided where possible; a design with smooth 'flowing' lines is usually the optimum.

A good example of fatigue failure is breaking a thin steel rod or wire with your hands after bending it
back and forth several times in the same place. Another example is an unbalanced pump impeller
resulting in vibrations that can cause fatigue failure.

The type of fatigue of most concern in circuit cards, gasoline, diesel, gas turbine engines and
many industrial applications is thermal fatigue. Thermal fatigue can arise from thermal stresses
produced by cyclic changes in temperature.

Fundamental requirements during design and manufacturing for avoiding fatigue failure are
different for different cases and should be considered during the design phase.


It has been recognized, since 1830, that a metal subjected to a repeated or fluctuating load will fail at a
stress level lower than that required to cause fracture on a single application of the load. The nominal
stress (S-N) method was the first approach developed to try to understand this failure process and is still
widely used in applications where the applied stress is nominally within the elastic range of the material

and the number of cycles to failure is large. From this point of view, the nominal stress approach is best
suited to that area of the fatigue process known as high-cycle fatigue.

Stress-time relations

Classification of Cyclic Stresses:-
Stress-time relations show that the stresses are not static but vary in magnitude with time. Cyclic stresses
cause fatigue failure and the objective here is to design machine elements that do not fail due to
fatigue during the specified design life.
Broadly the cyclic stresses are classified according to the relative magnitudes of mean stress and
stress amplitude as follows:
Mean stress: =( + ) /2
Stress amplitude: =( ) /2
Where are the maximum and minimum stresses, respectively.
Reversed stresses : = 0, =( ) /2

Repeated or pulsating stresses: =0

Fluctuating stresses : , and are all non-zero

Any of the three types of stresses is superimposed upon a steady or static component.

Fatigue Strength: The S-N Curve

Fatigue Strength and Endurance Limit (The S-N Diagram)
The determine the fatigue strength of materials; standard specimen is subjected to reversed stresses in a
Rotating Beam fatigue testing machine The machine subjects the specimen to pure bending. The
specimen is very carefully machined to standard dimensions and polished. (Fatigue-Testing machine are
also available for applying fluctuating or reversed axial stresses, torsional stress, or combined stresses to
the test specimens)
To determine the fatigue strength of a material, a number of tests are necessary with different values of
stress amplitude , mean stress being zero in all the cases. For example, the first test with = 0.94 Sut,
Second one with = 0.85 Sut, and so on till = 0.5 Sut or so. The number of cycles N to failure is
record in each case. The observations are plotted on a semi-log or log-log paper.
The ordinate of S-N diagram is called the fatigue strength Sf and the number of cycle N to which it
Fatigue Strength and Endurance Limit (The S-N Diagram)

Creep is the tendency of a solid material to deform permanently under the influence of
mechanical stresses. It can occur as a result of long-term exposure to high levels of stress that are still
below the yield strength of the material. Creep is more severe in materials that are subjected to heat for
long periods, and generally increases as they near their melting point. It is time-dependent deformation.

Creep deformation (constant stress) is possible at all temperatures above absolute zero. However, it is
extremely sensitive to temperature. Hence, creep in usually considered important at elevated
temperatures (temperatures greater than 0.4 Tm, Tm is absolute melting temperature).

Creep behavior of a material is studied using creep test. In creep test, the tensile specimen is subjected to
a constant load or stress at a constant temperature. Most creep tests are conducted at constant load in
analogous to engineering application, whereas creep tests at constant stress are necessary for
understanding of mechanism of creep. During the creep test, strain (change in length) is measured as a
function of elapsed time. Creep test data is presented as a plot between time and strain known as creep
curve. Figure depicts a typical creep curve. The slope of the creep curve is designated as creep rate.

As shown in the above figure, upon loading the specimen, there is an instantaneous deformation ( ) that

is mostly elastic. Actual creep curve follows this elastic deformation. Based on the variation of creep
rate with time, creep curve is considered to be consists of three portions, each of which has its own
distinctive strain-time feature. After initial rapid elongation, , the creep rate decreases continuously

with time, and is known as primary or transient creep. Primary creep is followed by secondary or steady-
state or viscous creep, which is characterized by constant creep rate. This stage of creep is often the
longest duration of the three modes. Finally, a third stage of creep known as, tertiary creep occurs that is
characterized by increase in creep rate.