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3/19/2019 Maximum Equivalent Stress Safety Tool

Maximum Equivalent Stress Safety Tool

The Maximum Equivalent Stress Safety tool is based on the maximum equivalent stress failure theory
for ductile materials, also referred to as the von Mises-Hencky theory, octahedral shear stress theory,
or maximum distortion (or shear) energy theory. Of the four failure theories supported by the
Mechanical application, this theory is generally considered as the most appropriate for ductile
materials such as aluminum, brass and steel.

The theory states that a particular combination of principal stresses causes failure if the maximum
equivalent stress in a structure equals or exceeds a specific stress limit:

Expressing the theory as a design goal:

If failure is defined by material yielding, it follows that the design goal is to limit the maximum
equivalent stress to be less than the yield strength of the material:

An alternate but less common definition states that fracturing occurs when the maximum equivalent
stress reaches or exceeds the ultimate strength of the material:


Define the stress limit in the Details view under Stress Limit Type. Use either Tensile Yield Per
Material, or Tensile Ultimate Per Material, or enter a Custom Value. By default, Stress Limit
Type equals Tensile Yield Per Material.

Choose a specific result from the Stress Tool context toolbar or by inserting a stress tool result using
a right mouse button click on Stress Tool:

Safety Factor 1/2
3/19/2019 Maximum Equivalent Stress Safety Tool

Safety Margin

Stress Ratio


The reliability of this failure theory depends on the accuracy of calculated results and the
representation of stress risers (peak stresses). Stress risers play an important role if, for
example, yielding at local discontinuities (e.g., notches, holes, fillets) and fatigue loading are of
concern. If calculated results are suspect, consider the calculated stresses to be nominal
stresses, and amplify the nominal stresses by an appropriate stress concentration factor Kt.
Values for Kt are available in many strength of materials handbooks.

If fatigue is not a concern, localized yielding will lead to a slight redistribution of stress, and no
real failure will occur. According to J. E. Shigley ( Mechanical Engineering Design
, McGraw-Hill,
1973), "We conclude, then, that yielding in the vicinity of a stress riser is beneficial in improving
the strength of a part and that stress-concentration factors need not be employed when the
material is ductile and the loads are static."

Alternatively, localized yielding is potentially important if the material is marginally ductile, or if

low temperatures or other environmental conditions induce brittle behavior.

Yielding of ductile materials may also be important if the yielding is widespread. For example,
failure is most often declared if yielding occurs across a complete section.

The proper selection and use of a failure theory relies on your engineering judgment. Refer to
engineering texts such as Engineering Considerations of Stress, Strain, and Strength
by R. C.
Juvinall (McGraw-Hill) and Mechanical Engineering Design
by J. E. Shigley (McGraw-Hill) for in-
depth discussions on the applied theories.

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