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Stress is a measurment of strength, it is how much pressure a material can withstand without undergoing physical change. There are a number of different types of stress.

Tensile strength/fracture stress

Tensile strength or fracture stress is the amount of stress a material can be put under before it fractures.

Yeild stress and yeild stength

Yeild stress or yeild strength is the amount of stress a material can take before it deforms permanently.

Caclulating stress
Stress is the pressure a material is under, that is the force per area. Stress is given the symbol sigma.

Stress is defined as the force per unit area of a material. i.e. Stress = force / cross sectional area:

= stress,

F = force applied, and A= cross sectional area of the object.

Units of s : Nm-2 or Pa.

Strain Strain is a measurement of how much a material has stretched. Stress causes strain on a material. Strain is a ratio between the original length of the material and the amount it has extended by, therefore:

Strain is defined as extension per unit length. Strain = extension / original length

= strain,

lo = the original length

e = extension = (l-lo), and

l = stretched length
Strain has no units because it is a ratio of lengths. We can use the above definitions of stress and strain for forces causing tension or compression. If we apply tensile force we have tensile stress and tensile strain If we apply compressive force we have compressive stress and compressive strain.

A useful tip: In calculations stress expressed in Pa is usually a very large number and strain is usually a
very small number. If it comes out much different then, you've done it wrong!

Young's modulus
Young's modulus is a measurement of stiffness. It describes how much a material will stretch (strain) when put under a given stress. The calculation of the Young's modulus of a sample of material is therefore:

Stress-strain graphs You need to be able to use and recognise the parts of a graph of stress plotted against strain:

The first thing to know is that the area under the curve represents the toughness of the material - how much it resists stress.

Between the origin and point A the material is said to be elastic - the ratio between stress and strain is constant, obeying Hooke's law. In this region the material will return to it's original size.

Hooke's law Hooke's law relates the force, F, acting upon a material and it's extension, x, using the equation:

Where k is some constant. Point A on the graph shows the elastic limit of the material, beyond this point the material will not obey Hooke's law and won't return to it's original shape when the stress is removed. The plastic region refers to the curve between points A and B. Here the rate of the extension increasing is going up. At point B the material undergoes 'necking' - the cross sectional area of the material decreases. Point C is the fracture point, where the material splits into two.

Stress - strain graph beyond elastic behaviour

In this 'Learn-it' so far, we have drawn stress-strain graphs for the elastic behaviour of a material. In the elastic region the stress-strain graph is a straight line. We can, however draw a stress strain graph beyond the elastic region. The graph, then becomes non-linear because Hooke's law is not obeyed and stress is not proportional to strain. Here are schematic stress-strain graphs of copper and glass.

Note: that both graphs end at points marked X. These points are called breaking points. A material
physically breaks at its breaking point. The stress at the breaking point is called the breaking stress of the material. Breaking stress of a material, in principle, is related to the energy required to break internal bonds between the atoms or the molecules of the material. It is very important for designers and engineers to know the value of the breaking stress for the materials they use.

This diagram schematically shows the stress strain curve of rubber. It is different from the other two stress-strain graphs, above, in the following respects: 1. Within the range of the stress and strain of the graph, rubber undergoes high strains (extension) without breaking. For example, one kind of rubber (polyisoprene) can be stretched ~500% without breaking 2. Although, rubber on loading returns to its original length (zero extension), the stress-strain graph has two branches (generated by loading up stress and unloading stress). The loop formed by the two branches is called hysteresis loop. It actually represents the fact that rubber is not a very good material for storing energy. In one loading and unloading cycle the strain energy, represented by the area bound by the hysteresis loop is lost and eventually dissipated as heat.