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  • Stress is the restoring force per unit area and strain is fractional change in dimension. In general there are three types of stresses (a)tensile stree - longitudinal stress(associated with streching) or compressive stress(associated with compression),(b)shearing stress, and (c) hydraulic stress.
  • For small deformations, stress is directly proportional to the strain for many materials. This is known as Hooke's law. The constant of propotionallity is called modulus of elasticity. Thress elastic moduli viz., Young's modulus, shear modulus and bulk modulus are used to describe the elastic behaviour of objects as they respond to deforming forces that act on them.
  • A class of solids called elastomers does not obey Hooke's law.
  • Hooke's law is valid only in the linear part of stress-strain curve. 
  • When an object is under tension or compression. The Hooke's law takes the form
    • F/A=YΔL/L
  • ΔL/L is the tensile or compressive strain of the objet, F is the magnitude of the applied force causing the strain, A is the cross-sectional area over which F is applied (perpendicular to A)and Y is the Young's modulus for the object. The stress is F/A.
  • A pair of forces when applied parallel to the upper and lower faes, the solid deforms so that the upper face moves sideways with respect to the lower. The horizoantal displacement ΔLof the upper face is perpendicular to the vertical height L. This type of deformation is called shear and the corresponding stress is the shearing stress. This type of stress is possible only ;in solids.
  • In this kind of deformation the Hooke's law takes the form
    • F/A=GxΔL/L
  • Where ΔL is the displacement of one end of object in the direction of the applied force F, and G is the shear modulus.
  • When an object undergoes hydraulic compression due to a stress exerted by a surrounding fluid, the Hooke's law takes the form
    • P=B(ΔV/V).
  • Where p is the pressure(hydraulic stress) on the object due to the fluid. ΔV/V(the volume strain) is the absolute fractional change in the object's volume due to that pressure and B is the bulk modulus of the object.
  • Bulk modulus is relevant for solids, liquid and gases. It refers to the change in volume when every part of the body is under the uniform stress so that the shape of the body remains unchanged.
  • Metals have larger values of Young’s modulus than alloys and elastomers. A material with large value of Young’s modulus requires a large force to produce small changes in its length.
  • In daily life, we feel that a material which stretches more is more elastic, but it a is misnomer. In fact material which stretches to a lesser extent for a given load is considered to be more elastic.
In general, a deforming force in one direction can produce strains in other directions also. The proportionality between stress and strain in such situations cannot be described by just one elastic constant. For example, for a wire under longitudinal strain, the lateral dimensions (radius of cross section) will undergo a small change, which is described by another elastic constant of the material (called Poisson ratio).

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