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Fundamentals of the Strength of Materials

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 8/13/2009

The strength of materials concerns the data related to materials to determine their capability to resist the applied loads and assist in production of strong components with a durable life. Failure analysis is conducted to determine the causes of failure and carry out improvements in the products.

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    What Is Strength Of Materials?

    Strength of Materials is an engineering discipline within Material Science that is related to the capability of solid bodies to withstand different types of forces, including axial loading, thermal loadings, and torsional loading. Analysis is carried out to determine the stress, strains, and dislocations created by the applied loads until failure, and such analysis explains the mechanical performance of the components. The real operating conditions, failure analysis, and resistance to deformation and cracking that are evaluated are influenced by not only the strength of the material, but also by its shape.

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    The Microstructure Of Materials

    The strength of a material is determined by its micromicrostructure structure so that it can be classified as metallic, ceramic, polymeric, and composite. The microstructure has a strong influence on the physical characteristics of the material like strength, hardness, corrosion and wear resistance, and ductility. When selecting a material for an industrial application, all these physical properties of the material are taken into consideration. The microstructure of the materials can be changed considerably by the application of several strengthening processes such as hardening and grain boundary strengthening. The most important useful field of the science of the strength of materials is the dynamic loading that provides an accurate analysis of the actual performance of the material during use for the designed purpose.

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    Strengthening Of Materials

    The mechanical properties, like yield strength, tensile strength, toughness, and ductility can be improved by the application of appropriate techniques, due to which a wide range of materials are available with mechanical properties that are in accordance with the actual requirement. Properties of steel can be improved by the addition of carbon, yield strength of materials is increased by the process of work hardening, and the technique of solution strengthening improves the properties of brass. Other strengthening processes normally employed are precipitation hardening and grain boundary strengthening. Strengthening of materials are processes that make the materials stronger by restricting macroscopic deformation in materials that causes plastic deformation.

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    Applications Of Strengthening Techniques

    Techniques for the strengthening of materials are essentially required in numerous fields, including construction, bridges, steel frames, and roof materials. Strong frames are required for the bridges to withstand high compressive and tensile stresses, and the steel structures used in buildings should be robust to bear the stresses and prevent bending due to the building weight. Similarly, materials used for the roofs should be firm to ensure prevention of roof caving due to excessive weight.

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    Failure Analysis

    Failure analysis is an important function of all engineering disciplfailure analysis ines since these analyses assist in determining the causes of failure and methods to prevent failure in future applications. Failure may occur during the manufacture of the product or during the use, and all the related data will contribute to the removal of the defect in future production of the component. Failed components are examined through the utilization of numerous techniques and test equipment, including microscopy and spectroscopy. Analytical and computer modeling methods are used to envisage the life of the components, and the conclusions are verified by empirical data.