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Structural Mechanics

Solve PDEs that model plane stress and strain in solid mechanics

In structural mechanics, the equations that relate stress and strain arise from the balance of forces in the material medium. Plane stress is a condition that prevails in a flat plate in the x-y plane, loaded only in its own plane and without z-direction restraint. The displacement equations for plane stress are:


where u is the displacement in the x-direction, k is a vector of volume forces, and c is a rank four tensor that can be written as four 2-by-2 matrices c11, c12, c21, and c22:


G is the shear modulus G = E/(2(1 + ν)), ν is the Poisson's ratio, and µ = 2Gν/(1 – ν)). The von Mises effective stress is computed as σ12+σ22σ1σ2. For details, see Structural Mechanics — Plane Stress.

Plane strain is a deformation state where there are no displacements in the z-direction, and the displacements in the x- and y-directions are functions of x and y but not z. The stress-strain relation is only slightly different from the plane stress case, and the same set of material parameters is used. Thus, for the plane strain equations, the µ parameter in the c tensor is defined as µ = 2Gν/(1 – 2ν)). The von Mises effective stress is computed as (σ12+σ22)(ν2ν+1)+σ1σ2(2ν22ν1).

Plane strain problems are less common than plane stress problems. An example is a slice of an underground tunnel that lies along the z-axis. It deforms in essentially plane strain conditions. For details, see Structural Mechanics — Plane Strain.


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