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# EM424 : Strain in Cylindrical Coordinates

## Strains in Cylindrical Coordinates

In class, we showed that the strain components relative to a set of (n, t, s) directions that
were mutually orthogonal in the undeformed body could be expressed in terms of
derivatives of the displacement vector, u, as:

u
nn = n
sn
u
tt = t
st
u
ss = s
s s
u u
nt = n +t , etc.
st sn

Before, we chose n, t, and s along a set of Cartesian axes to obtain the strain components
in rectangular coordinates. Similarly, we can use these expressions to find the strain
components in any other coordinate system. Consider a set of cylindrical coordinate, for
example:

ez
e
e
z
ey er
ex y
r z

x
Figure 1. Cylindrical coordinates

## In this case we can take

EM424 : Strain in Cylindrical Coordinates

sn = r
st = r
sz = z
and

n = e r = cos e x + sin e y
t = e = sin e x + cos e y
s = ez

## and where the displacement, u, is given by

u = ur er + u e + uz e z

## Consider, now the normal strain in the r direction. We have

u
rr = e r
r
u u u
= e r r e r + e + z e z
r r r
ur
=
r

## In the direction, however,

1 u 1 u u u e e
= e = e r e r + e + z e z + ur r + u
r r
1 u ur
= +
r r

## where we have used the fact that

e r e
= e , = e r

The additional strain term coming from the radial displacement can be understood if we
consider what such a displacement does in terms of the elongation of an element initially
in the direction:
EM424 : Strain in Cylindrical Coordinates

(r+ur )d
rd

d
ur
r

## Figure 2. Effects of a radial displacement on an element in the direction

From Fig. 2 we see that a radial displacement causes an strain in the direction of an
element initially in that direction given by

(r + ur ) r
( )u r
=
r
ur
=
r

## Also, in the z direction we find

u u u u
zz = e z = e z r e r + e + z e z
z z z z
uz
=
z

## Finally, consider one if the shear strains, namely

1 u u
r = e r + e
r r
1 u u u e e
= e r r e r + e + z e z + ur r + u
r
u u u
+e r e r + e + z e z
r r r
1 ur u u
= +
r r r

The first two terms in this shear strain expression are analogous to the terms that appear
in Cartesian coordinates. The last term can be understood by the fact that the
displacement in the direction can itself cause a shear strain as shown in Figure 3:
EM424 : Strain in Cylindrical Coordinates

## Figure 3. Shear strain caused by a displacement in the direction

where

u
( r )u = =

r

(the minus sign exists because a constant displacement causes the angle between two
lines initially along the r and directions to be greater than ninety degrees as shown in
Fig. 3.)