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Pressure The calculation of a

force applied over a given area


SYMBOL: p
FORMULA: p = F/A
UNITS: Metric N/m2 or Pascals (Pa)
(1 Pa = 1 N/m2)
(A Pascal is very light. Its about equivalent to the
pressure of a dollar bill resting on a table.)

English lb/in2 or psi

Pressure Calculation
EXAMPLE: For a certain individual the area
of each foot that makes contact with the
floor is 135 cm2 (.0135 m2) when this
person is standing upright. If this
individuals mass is 60.55 kg, what is the
pressure exerted on the floor by both feet?
(Assume both feet have equal contact area.)

Pressure Calculation
F = weight = mag = 60.55 kg*9.81 m/s2 = 594 N
A = 2*135 cm2 (Since there are two feet, the contact
area is doubled.) = 270 cm2 (or .0270 m2)
p = F/A = 594 N / 270 cm2 = 2.2 N/cm2
(or 594 N/.0270 m2 = 22000 Pa or 22 kPa)
SEE PRACTICE PROBLEM ON TEXT p 67

Mechanical Load Force or weight


applied to a structure
There are three types of load
Compression A pressing or squeezing force. Bones
and fibrocartilage are designed to resist compression.
Tension A pulling or stretching force. Tendons and
ligaments are designed to resist tension.
Shear A cutting force (a force which tends to separate
material along parallel planes). Shear loading is
normally seen in joints.

The three types of mechanical


loads

Shear
Compression

Tension

Mechanical Stress
The distribution of a load or loads on a
structure.
Each category of mechanical load produces
an associated category of stress.
Compressive Stress
Tensile Stress
Shear Stress

When a muscle contracts


it produces tensile stress
in a tendon.

Shear stress occurs


in joints.
The combined structure of the
vertebrae and the intervertebral
discs is designed to withstand
compressive stress.

Note that in the


vertebral column the
vertebrae and discs
become larger as you get
closer to the bottom. This
is to accommodate the
increase in weight that
must be carried by the
lower vertebrae and discs.

Adequate
anteroposterior
growth of the
vertebral bodies is
dependent on
weight bearing
activities (sitting
and standing
upright), especially
in the first two years
of life.

Mechanical Stress
Stress, like pressure, is calculated as a load
distributed over an area. The units are the same as
the units for pressure.
SYMBOL: (The Greek letter sigma)
EXAMPLE: A tendon has cross sectional area of .8
cm2. If the muscle attached to it generates a force
of 200 N, calculate the tensile stress in the tendon.
= load/area = 200 N/.8 cm2 = 250 N/cm2
SEE PRACTICE PROBLEM TEXT p 73

Bending Stress
Produces compressive stress on one side of
a structure and tensile stress on the other.

Torsion
Stress which occurs when a structure twists
around its long axis.
This type of stress creates spiral fractures in
long bones like the tibia.