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Engineering LibreTexts

1: The Concept of Strain

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  • Strain is a fundamental concept in continuum and structural mechanics. Displacement fields and strains can be directly measured using gauge clips or the Digital Image Correlation (DIC) method. Deformation patterns for solids and deflection shapes of structures can be easily visualized and are also predictable with some experience. By contrast, the stresses can only be determined indirectly from the measured forces or by the inverse engineering method through a detailed numerical simulation. Furthermore, a precise determination of strain serves to define a corresponding stress through the work conjugacy principle. Finally the equilibrium equation can be derived by considering compatible fields of strain and displacement increments, as explained in Chapter 2. The present author sees the engineering world through the magnitude and shape of the deforming bodies. This point of view will dominate the formulation and derivation throughout the present lecture note. Chapter 1 starts with the definition of one dimensional strain. Then the concept of the threedimensional (3-D) strain tensor is introduced and several limiting cases are discussed. This is followed by the analysis of strains-displacement relations in beams (1-D) and plates (2- D). The case of the so-called moderately large deflection calls for considering the geometric non-linearities arising from rotation of structural elements. Finally, the components of the strain tensor will be re-defined in the polar and cylindrical coordinate system.