Stress and Strain in Civil Engineering


Engineering Studies – H1 Civil Engineering – Mechanical Analysis

This topic investigates the stress and strain in structures and methods of analysing the magnitude of those forces and deformations.

Key Concepts

  • Types of stress
  • Defining strain
  • Young’s modulus of elasticity
  • Load /extension graphs
  • Tension and compression Forces

Discussion Questions

  1. Define stress and list the common types of stress.
  2. Explain the units used in stress values.
  3. What defines the difference between shear stress and compressive stress?
  4. What test is being performed to create a load / extension diagram?
  5. What material properties can be identified by the curve produced by a tensometer?
  6. What criteria are used to determine a factor of safety (FoS)?
  7. Define the Modulus of Elasticity and why it is relevant.
  8. Define material properties such as strength, elasticity, plasticity, ductility, brittleness, yield strength, proportional limit, ultimate tensile strength and toughness.
  9. What shape and features of a stress/strain diagram are used to identify the type of material that was tested?
  10. Why is the value for true stress different from the value we commonly calculate for stress?


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