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Theories of Elastic Failure


by utilizing the previous knowledge we can determine

the principal stresses, maximum shear stresses and the
distortions (strains) in the members subjected to
combined loadings --------- (ANALYSIS)

The members can be designed based on the above

values of stresses/strains (determined in the analysis)

to withstand the combined loadings ------ (DESIGN)
Inverse Problem


The strength of material is generally determined in a

single case of loading i.e. uniaxial tension or

compression, shear or torsion whereas the structural
members may observe the combination of these
Hence it is more complex to design a member to
resist combined loads because the strength /
mechanical properties cannot be determined for all
possible combinations of loadings.


To correlate the strength under various combined

loadings with simple mechanical properties of

materials THEORIES OF FAILURE were
Maximum principal stress theory
Maximum principal strain theory
Total strain energy theory
Maximum shear stress theory
Shear strain energy theory

Theories of Failure

For this specific course we will limit our scope to

only ELASTIC FAILURE of materials.

a. Brittle failure
b. Combined ductile & brittle
c. Complete ductile failure

Maximum Principal Stress Theory

Rankines theory
Material fails when maximum

principal stress developed due to

external applied loads exceeds the
stress at the elastic limit state

Maximum Principal Stress Theory

magnitude of maximum principal is given by
following equation

According to theory for safe design

Here is the stress at elastic limit state.

Better results for brittle materials

Maximum Principal Strain Theory

Venants theory

Material fails when the maximum

principal strain exceeds the strain at

the elastic limit

According to theory
Good results for brittle materials
under biaxial tension

Total Strain Energy Theory

Proposed by Haigh and Beltrami

Failure of material occurs when the total

strain energy per unit volume exceeds the

total strain energy at the elastic limit
This strain energy is defined as the work
done by load provided no energy is added
or subtracted in the form of heat. Some
times strain energy is referred to as internal
work done.

Total Strain Energy Theory

Consider a simple bar which is subjected to tensile

force F, having a small element of dimensions dx, dy

and dz.

Total Strain Energy Theory

three dimensional case of stress

Strains in x, y and z direction is given by

Total Strain Energy Theory

For safe design

Maximum Shear Stress Theory

or Trescas theory

Material fails when the maximum shear stress

developed in the material exceeds the maximum shear

stress at the elastic limit

Maximum Shear Stress Theory

For uniaxial loading
For general case

By comparing


Maximum Shear Stress Theory

safe design

Shear Strain Energy Theory

energy theory or Von-Misess theory

Material fails when its energy of distortion per unit

volume exceeds the distortion energy per unit

volume at the elastic limit
Total strain energy consists of two parts
Strain energy associated with change in volume
Strain energy associated with change in shape

Shear Strain Energy Theory

strain energy is already calculated and for unit

volume it is given by

For volumetric strain energy consider a cubic element

under hydrostatic pressure

Only volumetric strain will occur and will be given as

here put

Shear Strain Energy Theory

values of and in initial equation and

simplifying we get

The shear strain energy at elastic limit state per unit

volume is given as

For safe design

Shear Strain Energy Theory

By comparing and simplifying

Example 1

Example 2

Example 2

Example 2

Example 2

Example 3

Example 3

Example 3

Example 3