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Definition: stress from Philip's Encyclopedia

In physics, internal tension in a material. Tensile stress stretches an object, compressive stress squeezes it and shearing stress twists it. Fluid stresses are called pressure.


Summary Article: stress from The Penguin Dictionary of Physics

A system of forces in equilibrium producing STRAIN in a body or part of a body. The stresses may be regarded as the forces applied to deform the body or as the equal and opposite forces with which the body resists. In all cases a stress is measured as a force per unit area. The simplest stresses are: (1) tensional or compressive stress (i.e. normal stress), e.g. the force per unit area of cross section applied to each end of a rod to extend or compress it; (2) hydrostatic pressure, e.g. the force per unit area applied to a body by immersion in a fluid; (3) shear stress, e.g. the system of four tangential stresses applied to the surfaces of a rectangular block (each force being parallel to one edge) tending to produce shear (see STRAIN). See also MODULUS OF ELASTICITY; STRESS COMPONENTS.

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