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57
votes
2answers
7k views

Why does dry spaghetti break into three pieces as opposed to only two?

You can try it with your own uncooked spaghetti if you want; it almost always breaks into three when you snap it. I am asking for a good physical theory on why this is along with evidence to back it ...
19
votes
2answers
9k views

Why is stress a tensor quantity?

Why is stress a tensor quantity? Why is pressure not a tensor? According to what I know pressure is an internal force whereas stress is external so how are both quantities not tensors? I am ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

How is potential energy actually stored in a steel spring at the atomic level?

Elasticity is one the most intriguing phenomena, wiki gives a summary explanation of what happens in a steel spring: the atomic lattice changes size and shape when forces are applied (energy is ...
11
votes
1answer
606 views

Why does plastic turn white in the area of stress?

There is a phenomenon with plastic in which it changes color to white in areas where stress is applied. When I bend a plastic rod the area in the centre, it turns white or loses colour. Why does this ...
10
votes
6answers
73k views

What is the difference between stress and pressure?

What is the difference between stress and pressure? Are there any intuitive examples that explain the difference between the two? How about an example of when pressure and stress are not equal?
10
votes
3answers
40k views

Hollow Tube Stronger than Solid bar of same Outside Diameter (O.D.)?

I was listening to some co-workers talking about problems meeting stiffness requirements. Someone said that even with a solid metal rod (instead of the existing tube) we could not meet stiffness ...
8
votes
2answers
873 views

Tearing a piece paper along a crease

Why is it easier to tear paper along a crease? To word it differently: why does a "tear" progress along a crease, if one is present?
7
votes
3answers
295 views

How wide does a wall of ice need to be to stay in place?

Let us say that we have unlimited manpower to construct a huge wall of water ice e.g. 200 m tall (700 feet). -and that the wall is placed in a climate, where the temperature never (for your purpose) ...
6
votes
4answers
474 views

Why are stresses of continuum systems described via a tensor?

The tittle pretty much says enough. I have always been told so but no one really motivated it. So, I would like to know why do we use a tensor to describe the stresses in continuum mechanics.
6
votes
2answers
4k views

How does the energy in a standing wave travel beyond a node?

In a standing wave, how does energy travel past a node? It should just get reflected. Assume the case of first overtone and you strike the string at a place. How will energy distribute itself? If it ...
6
votes
2answers
878 views

Why do chocolate bars usually break at the cleavages?

Why do chocolate bars usually break at the cleavages? The chocolate bar is less thick at cleavages. How can we relate thickness and fracture point of chocolate bar?
5
votes
1answer
246 views

Stress calculations in a perforated paper

You have a sheet of paper (torn out of a good quality foolscap notebook) as shown above, and you start pulling it apart with both your hands (forces indicating by the blue arrows). Its difficult to ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Physical meaning of elastic constants of a monoclinic crystal

For the elasticity of a material, Hook's law can be written in tensorial form as: $$\sigma = \mathsf{C}\, \varepsilon$$ where $\sigma$ is the Cauchy stress tensor, $\varepsilon$ is the infinitesimal ...
5
votes
1answer
270 views

What happens when a piezo crystal is exposed to a vacuum?

Application of mechanical stress to a piezo crystal generates a charge. Quoting from wikipedia, a 1 cm3 cube of quartz with 2 kN (500 lbf) of correctly applied force can produce a voltage of 12500 V....
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Does zero strain always imply zero stress?

In solid mechanics, can I always assume that if an object undergoes no strain, then no stress is applied to it? I think it's true only because I can't seem to find a counter-example.
4
votes
2answers
14k views

Will a diamond break if I hit it with a hammer [closed]

I was having this discussion with my friend about the hardness of diamonds. I would like to know if a diamond will break or not if hit with a hammer. Different sources across the internet mention ...
4
votes
3answers
623 views

Calculating stress without strain

I am working on an algorithm for a real-time simulation. I would like to calculate to extremely permissive tolerances approximate values for the stress within a 2D geometry. It will not be difficult ...
4
votes
1answer
71 views

Breaking strength of wet paper/cloth

In the Hollywood movie, Shanghai Knights (pardon me for the non scientific citation), Jackie Chan states that 'wet cloth' does not break easily. How true a fact is this ? We know from common ...
4
votes
2answers
200 views

First-principles derivation of cutting force

I know that the amount of force required to separate a material from itself is linked to the surface energy of that material. However, looking at just the surface energy laughably underestimates the ...
4
votes
1answer
359 views

Does a thermally expanding torus experience internal stress?

I'm trying to learn continuum mechanics and thermo-mechanics. As we know, heating an object increases the mean atomic distance $a_0$ of the atoms in a rigid body. Let's assume it is a linear elastic ...
4
votes
0answers
72 views

Cauchy stress tensor for a spherically symmetric problem [closed]

Given a sperically symmetric problem, I am asked to show that its Cauchy stress tensor, in spherical coordinates will assume the form: $${\overline{\overline{\sigma}}}=\sigma_{RR}(r)\overline{e_r}\...
3
votes
1answer
977 views

Why does glass break at the line where you score it?

Why does it take such a small incision for the glass to break at that spot? Why is the structural strength of the material influenced by such a small imperfection?
3
votes
2answers
79 views

What is the purpose of the Maxwell Stress Tensor?

In the calculation of the forces acting on a charge/current distribution, one arrives at the Maxwell stress tensor: $$\sigma_{ij}=\epsilon_0 E_iE_j + \frac{1}{\mu_0} B_iB_j -\frac{1}{2}\left(\...
3
votes
2answers
124 views

What will limit the speed at which one can play the piano?

I thought about this as a fun question. Suppose we provide a piano player that is limited only by the typical relativistic rules (i.e., hands and fingers cannot move faster the speed of light), so ...
3
votes
1answer
185 views

In continuum mechanics, why is the stress vector $T=\sigma\cdot n$ not a covector?

In continuum mechanics, the stress vector (see Cauchy stress tensor) $T=\sigma\cdot n$ is the surface density of a force. Forces are covectors, since they map a displacement vector to a scalar energy. ...
3
votes
3answers
267 views

origin of the major symmetry property of the elasticity tensor

In linear elasticity theory the stress tensor $\sigma$ is related to the strain tensor $\epsilon$ via the elastic tensor $C$. Specifically $$ \sigma_{ij} = C_{ijkl} \epsilon_{kl} $$ Because $\sigma$ ...
3
votes
3answers
409 views

Is it possible that Cauchy stress be asymmetric?

According to conservation of linear momentum and angular momentum, one can derive that Cauchy stress tensor is symmetric and hence has only 6 independent components. Is it possible that, when breaking ...
3
votes
1answer
480 views

Material strain from spacetime curvature

Let's say that you moved an object made of rigid materials into a place with extreme tidal forces. Materials have a modulus of elasticity and a yield strength. Does the corresponding 3D geometric ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Formulas for compressibility of solids

I am taking a course in mechanics this semester, as well as a course in reservoir physics. Both courses have sections devoted to pressure/compressibility of solids, but the formulas look slightly ...
3
votes
2answers
610 views

What is the mathematical formulation for buckling?

Argument: Buckling is an engineering concept that can only be applied to thin columns with compressive loading. (Is it possible to) Prove the above sentence right or wrong with mathematical ...
3
votes
1answer
79 views

Perturbations on a fluid thread and hydrodynamic instability

I know that due to fluid instability there are some perturbations ( picture below ) after all of these, my question is the reason of existence of these perturbations. Why exactly they appear? Shear ...
3
votes
2answers
135 views

How does stress change through a bar that sharply increases in diameter?

I am looking to analyse the stress through the following bar: The bar is of circular cross section, homogeneous in material, that is of a certain diameter on one half, and a large diameter on the ...
3
votes
1answer
36 views

determining the stress of a beam

I have a question regarding a beam. I first consider a force applied to both ends of a rectangular beam which is perpendicular to its cross section with dimensions w (width) and h (height). The length ...
3
votes
1answer
68 views

Cauchy stress tensor in different coordinate system

The general form of the cauchy stress tensor is given by the dyadic decomposition $$\boldsymbol \sigma = \sigma_{ij}\,\,\mathbf{e}_i \otimes \mathbf{e}_j$$ I want to know how this can be expanded in ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

What causes stress concentration (aka stress risers/raisers) at corners?

I've read a few explanations about why stress concentration occurs at sharp corners but I don't find the explanations intuitive. Can anyone explain it perhaps using an analogy such as atoms "holding ...
3
votes
1answer
295 views

Decomposition of deformation into bend, stretch and twist?

I'm wondering is there any way to decompose the deformation of an object into different components? For example, into stretching, bending and twisting part respectively? The decomposition could be ...
3
votes
0answers
16 views

physical significance of the 'time of relaxation ' and 'time of observation'

Deborah number (used frequently in rheology) is defined as the ratio of the time of observation to the time of relaxation. In his article The Deborah Number, M. Reiner the man who coined the term has ...
3
votes
2answers
313 views

Degree of anisotropy of crystal tensors

Does there exist a scalar that can describe how anisotropic the elasticity of a crystal is? What about other tensors such as the permittivity or susceptibility? I found a Wikipedia article that was ...
3
votes
2answers
91 views

in Science materials, what is difference b/w E and G?

I'm studying Science Materials on Callister's Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction. I've never studied Mechanics (except for basic Physics courses), so I was wandering: when talking ...
2
votes
3answers
515 views

What is the motivation for Mohr's circle?

I am very puzzled by the motivation for Mohr's circle in Wikipedia here. Please, explain why we need something called "Mohr's circle". Use as little words as possible and be precise. Helper questions ...
2
votes
2answers
746 views

Why is steel-reinforced concrete stronger than ordinary concrete?

Is it only because steel has higher elasticity? What other factors are involved?
2
votes
1answer
582 views

What is the two dimensional equivalent of a spring?

I'm trying to model isotropic linear elastic deformation in two dimensions. In one dimension, I know that a linear elastic material can be thought of as a spring which obeys Hooke's law $F=-k\Delta x$...
2
votes
2answers
310 views

Jaumann deviatoric stress rate

Background about terms in this question: Hookes law and objective stress rates From my understading, the Jaumann rate of deviatoric stress is written as: $$dS/dt = \overset{\bigtriangleup}{{S}} = {\...
2
votes
2answers
126 views

Do all impacts create a wave-like disturbance in the medium through which they travel?

There is a scene in the first Matrix movie, where a helicopter strikes a skyscraper. The most interesting part is the 'slow-motion' bit where, as the helicopter strikes the building, a wave first ...
2
votes
2answers
597 views

It would take an elephant, balanced on a pencil, to break through a sheet of graphene the thickness of Cling Film

I'm currently doing some work on a presentation about graphene, and have come across numerous articles which claim something along the lines of It would take an elephant, balanced on a pencil, to ...
2
votes
4answers
969 views

Glass pipe cutting

I want to know how to quickly create the straightest possible breaks in glass pipes I apologise if this is only borderline suitable for a physics forum - I just hope experts with a lot of experience ...
2
votes
2answers
215 views

what is the static pressure in a yield stress fluid?

Suppose I have a tank filled and there is no slip at the walls. If the tank is filled with a Newtonian fluid and is in static equilibrium, we know that the pressure is defined as $p = \rho g z$. But ...
2
votes
2answers
159 views

pure compression or pure traction?

I know that if we are given a stress tensor that is diagonal, the sign on the diagonal entries tell us whether we have traction or compression. Now, imagine that we are given a non diagonal stress ...
2
votes
1answer
621 views

Poisson effect formula for large deformations

English Wikipedia in the Poisson's ratio article gives an equation for large deformation: $$ \frac{\Delta d}{d}=-1+\frac{1}{\left(1+\dfrac{\Delta L}{L}\right)^\nu} $$ I couldn't find any reference ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the shear stress of a fluid?

One book defines the shear stress $\tau$ of a (Newtonian) fluid as $$\tau = \eta \frac{\partial v}{\partial r} $$ where $\eta$ is the viscosity. There is not much context, so I've made some guesses. ...