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In engineering mechanics, bending (also known as flexure) characterizes the behavior of a structural element subjected to an external load applied perpendicular to the axis of the element. A structural element subjected to bending is known as a beam. A closet rod sagging under the weight of clothes on clothes hangers is an example of a beam experiencing bending.

Bending produces reactive forces inside a beam as the beam attempts to accommodate the flexural load; the material at the top of the beam is being compressed while the material at the bottom is being stretched. There are three notable internal forces caused by lateral loads: shear parallel to the lateral loading, compression along the top of the beam, and tension along the bottom of the beam. These last two forces form a couple or moment as they are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction. This bending moment produces the sagging deformation characteristic of compression members experiencing bending.

This stress distribution is dependent on a number of assumptions. First, that 'plane sections remain plane'. In other words, any deformation due to shear across the section is not accounted for (no shear deformation). Also, this linear distribution is only applicable if the maximum stress is less than the yield stress of the material. For stresses that exceed yield, refer to article plastic bending. The compressive and tensile forces induce stresses on the beam. The maximum compressive stress is found at the uppermost edge of the beam while the maximum tensile stress is located at the lower edge of the beam. Since the stresses between these two opposing maxima vary linearly, there therefore exists a point on the linear path between them where there is no bending stress. The locus of these points is the neutral axis. Because of this area with no stress and the adjacent areas with low stress, using uniform cross section beams in bending is not a particularly efficient means of supporting a load as it does not use the full capacity of the beam until it is on the brink of collapse. Wide-flange beams (I-Beams) and truss girders effectively address this inefficiency as they minimize the amount of material in this under-stressed region. Complex bending of homogeneous beams

The complex bending stress equation for elastic, homogeneous beams is given as where Mx and My are the bending moments about the x and y centroid axes, respectively. Ix and Iy are the second moments of area (also known as moments of inertia) about the x and y axes, respectively, and Ixy is the product of inertia. Using this equation it would be possible to calculate the bending stress at any point on the beam cross section regardless of moment orientation or cross-sectional shape. Note that Mx,

My, Ix, Iy, and Ixy are all unique for a given section along the length of the beam. In other words, they will not change from one point to another on the cross section. However, the x and y variables shown in the equation correspond to the coordinates of a point on the cross section at which the stress is to be determined.

Stress in large bending deformation For large deformations of the body, the stress in the cross-section is calculated using an extended version of this formula. First the following assumptions must be made: 1. Assumption of flat sections - before and after deformation the considered section of body remains flat (i.e. is not swirled). 2. Shear and normal stresses in this section that are perpendicular to the normal vector of cross section have no influence on normal stresses that are parallel to this section.

Large bending considerations should be implemented when the bending radius ρ is smaller than ten section heights h: ρ < 10h

With those assumptions the stress in large bending is calculated as:

where F is the normal force A is the section area

M is the bending moment ρ is the local bending radius (the radius of bending at the current section) Ix' is the area moment of inertia along the x axis, at the y place (see Steiner's theorem) y is the position along y axis on the section area in which the stress σ is calculated

Shear stress

A shear stress, denoted (tau), is defined as a stress which is applied parallel or tangential to a face of a material, as opposed to a normal stress which is applied perpendicularly. In other words, considering that weight is a force, hanging something from a wall creates a shear stress on the wall, since the weight of the object is acting parallel to the wall, as opposed to hanging something from the ceiling which creates a normal stress on the ceiling, since the weight is acting perpendicular to the ceiling.

General shear stress The formula to calculate average shear stress is:

where τ = the shear stress F = the force applied A = the cross sectional area

Other forms of shear stress Beam shear is defined as the internal shear stress of a beam caused by the shear force applied to the beam.

where V = total shear force at the location in question Q = statical moment of area t = thickness in the material perpendicular to the shear I = second moment of area of the cross section

This formula is also known as the Jourawski formula. Semi-monocoque shear

Shear stresses within a semi-monocoque structure may be calculated by idealizing the cross-section of the structure into a set of stringers (carrying only axial loads) and webs (carrying only shear flows). Dividing the shear flow by the thickness of a given portion of the semi-monocoque structure yields the shear stress. Thus, the maximum shear stress will occur either in the web of maximum shear flow or minimum thickness.

Also constructions in soil can fail due to shear; e.g., the weight of an earth-filled dam or dike may cause the subsoil to collapse, like a small landslide.

Shear stress in fluids See also: Viscosity, Couette flow, Hagen-Poiseuille equation, and Depth-slope product

Any real fluid (liquids and gases included) moving along solid boundary will incur a shear stress on that boundary. The no-slip condition[2] dictates that the speed of the fluid at the boundary (relative to the boundary) is zero, but at some height from the boundary the flow speed must equal that of the fluid. The region between these two points is aptly named the boundary layer. For all Newtonian fluids the

shear stress is proportional to the strain rate in the fluid where the viscosity is the constant of proportionality. However for Non Newtonian fluids, this is no longer the case as for these fluids the viscosity is not constant. The shear stress is imparted onto the boundary as a result of this loss of velocity. The shear stress for a Newtonian fluid can be expressed as:

where μ is the dynamic viscosity of the fluid, u is the velocity of the fluid along the boundary, and y is the height of the boundary.

In case of wind, the shear stress at the boundary is called wind stress. Diverging fringe shear stress sensor

This relationship can be exploited to measure the wall shear stress. If a sensor could directly measure the gradient of the velocity profile at the wall, then multiplying by the dynamic viscosity would yield the shear stress. Such a sensor was demonstrated by A. A. Naqwi and W. C. Reynolds[3]. The interference pattern generated by sending a beam of light through two parallel slits forms a network of linearly diverging fringes that seem to originate from the plane of the two slits (see double-slit experiment). As a particle in a fluid passes through the fringes, a receiver detects the reflection of the fringe pattern. The signal can be processed, and knowing the fringe angle, the height and velocity of the particle can be extrapolated. Micro-pillar shear-stress sensor

A further technique recently proposed is that of slender wall-mounted micro-pillars made of the flexible polymer PDMS, which bend in reaction to the applying drag forces in the vicinity of the wall. The deflection of the pillar tips from a reference position is detected optically and serves as a representative of the wall-shear stress. The sensor technique has been discussed in length e.g. in. It allows the instantaneous detection of the streamwise and spanwise wall-shear stress distribution in turbulent flow up to high Reynolds numbers.

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