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The load that can be safely carried by a bracket needs

to be determined. The bracket is made from standard
steel with a yield stress of 36 ksi.
Since there are both bending stress and torsional
shear stress in the circular bar section, the stress state
will not be uniaxial. This will require the use of
the stress transformation equations to find the principal

Support Bracket for Hanging Load P

With the principal stresses, the maximum distortion

energy failure criteria can be applied, and the total
allowable load, P, can be determined. For safety, a
factor of safety of 2 is required. Thus, the bracket
stress should not exceed 36/2 = 18 ksi.
It is assumed that the maximum torsional shear
stresses and bending stresses will occur in the circular
section at the wall.

Torsional Shear Stress

The load P will cause a bending moment at the joint
between the circular and rectangular sections. The
equivalent moment or torque, T, at the joint will be
T = (6 in) P
This torque will cause a constant twist in the circular
section which will produce a torsional shear stress,
Equivalent Torque in the Circular
Section due to the Force P
in the Rectangular Section

Bending Stress

The load P will cause the bracket to bend in two

directions. The first will be about the circular section,
but there is no torsional stress in this section. Second,
there will be a moment reaction at the wall that will
bend the circular cross section. This moment, M, is
shown in the diagram at the left and is equals to
Bending Moment M and
Twisting Torque T at Wall

M = (6 in) P
The bending stress will be,

Combined Stress State

Both the torsional moment, T and the bending moment
M, cause shear and bending normal stresses,
respectively. If an element at the top of the circular
section is analyzed as shown in the diagram, the stress
state would be

x = 144.87 P
xy = 72.43 P
Stress State at top of
Circular Sections near wall

Initial and Principal Stress States

The principal stresses will be

1 = 174.88 P and 2 = -30.00 P

Maximum Distortion Energy Criteria

Now that the principal stresses are known in terms of

the load P, the failure criteria can be applied. For the
maximum distortion energy criteria, the following
relationship must be meet,

Substituting the principal stresses and yield stress (do

not forget the factor of safety), gives
(174.88P)2 + (-30.00P)2
- (174.88P)(-30.00P) = (36,000/2)2
Solving for P, gives
P = 93.91 lb
The final principal stresses are

1 = 174.88 P = 16.42 ksi

2 = -30.00 P = -2.82 ksi
These principal normal stresses can be normalized
with the design stress, 18 ksi, to give

1/design = 16.42/18 = 0.9122

Stress Location on Failure Envelop
with Maximum Load P of 93.9 lb

2/design = -2.82/18 = -0.1567

This point are plotted on the failure envelop diagram at
the left.


Gas Tank under Pressure

During testing, a thin-walled tank was pressurized with

gas and the stresses in the x and y direction were found
to be x = 150 MPa, y = 75 MPa, and xy = 0. However,
in actual use, the tank must also withstand a torque on
the cap that will introduce a possible shear stress in the
tank walls. This shear stress is in addition to the
stresses due to the tank pressure. What is the
maximum torque that can be applied if the vessel
material can only withstand a shear stress of 100 MPa?
The wall thickness is 15 mm and the outside diameter is
35 cm. Also, the maximum allowable shear stress for
the vessel material is 100 MPa.

Mohr's circle can be used to understand the solve for
this stress state by first finding the largest radius R for
which the shearing stress does not exceed 100 MPa
and then determine the allowable torque.
To draw the Mohr's circle, first the center should be
determined. Since, (x + y)/2 = (150 + 75)/2 = 112.5,
this will be at (112.5 , 0).
Assuming a radius R, the Mohr's circle is plotted on the
left. From the diagram principal stresses are,

1 = (x + y)/2 - R
= 112.5 - R
Mohr's Circle

2 = (x + y)/2 + R
= 112.5 + R
where R = | (1 - 2)/2 |

The goal is to determine the largest radius R for which

the shear stress does not exceed 100 MPa. This can be
found using "Maximum Shear Stress Theory" that states
that for any combination of loading for 1 and2, the
shear stress cannot exceed yld/2 = max. This condition
gives three separate possible situations that need to be

In this problem, the maximum allowable shear stress is

given, and not the yield stress. However, the yield
stress is simply two times the yield stress for a uniaxial
test. The three conditions become,
1st: | 1 | = yld = 2max = 2(100)
| 112.5 - R | = 200
R = 312.5 MPa
2nd: | 2 | = yld = 2max = 2(100)
| 112.5 + R | = 200 MPa
R = 87.5 MPa
3rd: | 1 -2 | = yld = 2max = 2(100)
R = | (1 - 2)/2 | = 100 MPa

Comparing these three situations, the maximum value

of R is the minimum of above three.
R = 87.5 MPa
From the Mohr's Circle diagram corresponding torsional
shear stress is found as,

= ( R2 - (112.5 - 75) 2 )1/2 = 79.06 MPa

Mohr's Circle for

Hence, the torque that will cause this torsional shearing

T = J / r
= [(79.06) (/2) (ro4 - ri4)] / (0.35/2)
= 124.2 [(0.35/2)4 - (0.35/2 - 0.015)4] / 0.175
= 0.2005 MN-m = 200.5 kN-m

Failure Thoeries

If all structures where loaded in only one direction, it would

be easy to predict failure. All that would be needed was a
single uniaxial test to find the yield stress and ultimate
stress levels. If it is a brittle material, then the ultimate
stress will determine failure. For ductile material, failure is
assumed to be when the material starts to yield and
permanently deform.
However, when a structure has multiple stresses at a given
local (x, y and xy for 2D as discussed in Stresses at a
Point section), then the interaction between those stresses
may effect the final failure. This section presents three
basic failure theories that can be used for different types of
materials to help predict failure when multiple stresses are
Uniaxial Stress-Strain Curve with
Yield Stress and Ultimate Stress

For simplification, all theories are based on principal

stresses (1, 2) which can be determined from any
(x, y and xy) stress state. This removes the shear stress
terms since the shear stress is zero at the principal
directions. Using principal stresses does not change the
results from the failure theories.

Maximum Normal Stress Theory

The simpliest theory ignores any interaction between the
normal principal stresses, and assumes that failure occurs
when either of the normal stresses exceed the ultimate
stress. This is written as

This can be visualized on a plot by normalizing the two

normal stress as 1/ult and 2/ult. This gives a square
region where the stress state is safe. Outside the region is
Maximum Normal Stress Criterion
(Blue Regoin is Safe)

This failure criteria is really good for brittle materials and

should not used for ductile material like steel, aluminum,
and plastics.

Maximum Shear Stress Theory

(Tresca's Yield Criterion)

The maximum shear stress assumes failure occurs when

the maximum shear stress exceeds the shear stress in a
simple uniaxial test. In a unixial test, the principal stresses
are 1 = x (axial direction) and 2 = 0 (transverse to axial
direction). Using the stress transformation equations, the
maximum shear stress for this stress state is

max = (x - y)/2 = x/2 = yld/2

Thus, for any combination of loading for 1 and 2, the
shear stress cannot exceed = yld/2. This condition gives
three seperate possible situations that need to checked,

Maximum Shear Stress Criterion

or Tresca's Yield Criterion
(Blue Regoin is Safe)

This criteria is actually fairly accurate for ductile materials

like steel, alumunim and plastics. The difficulty is that three
conditions need to be checked.

Maximum Distortion Energy Theory

(von Mises' Yield Criterion)
The third theory looks at the total energy at failure and
compares that with the total energy in a unixial test at
failure. Any elastic member under load acts like a spring
and stores energy. This is commonly called distortational
energy and can be calculated as

Maximum Distortion Energy Criterion

or von Mises' Yield Criterion
(Blue Regoin is Safe)

The G is the shear modulus. The distortion energy for a

general stress state can be compared to distortion energy
for a uniaxial test that fails at x = 1 = yld. This gives,

Thus the general criterion for failure would be

This criteria is especially useful since it is a single

equation. It is also accurate for ductile materials. The
shape of the region is an ellispe that is rotated 45 degrees.

Maximum Distortion Energy Theory (3D)

For 3D stress state, a similar calculation can be done
based on the three principal stresses, 1, 2 and 3.


A new steel bracket was designed to support various
loads being hung from the end. The designer would
like to know what is the largest load that can be hung
on the bracket.
What is known:

Support Bracket for Hanging Load

Allowable yield stress for the steel is 36 ksi.

The bracket safety of factor must be at least


Each arm of the bracket is 6 in long.

What is the maximum load that can be placed on the
bracket using the maximum distortion energy theory?


Calculate the maximum torsion in the circular


Calculate the maximum bending stress in the

circular bar.

Determine the stress state at the wall

(location of the maximum bending stress and
torsional stress)

Find the principal stresses.

Apply the maximum distortion energy theory


A new passenger plane is being designed with a
composite fuselage skin. The fibers will be placed in
four different directions; 1) along the length of the
fuselage or longitudinal (long) direction, 2) around the
circumferential (circ) direction, 3) 30o from the
longitudinal fibers, and 4) -30o from the longitudinal
fibers. The skin is made from multiple layers of
graphite reinforced epoxy, but the fibers are only
placed in the four directions as described.
What is known:

The stress in the longitudinal direction, long, is

50 ksi.

The stress in the circumferential

direction, circ, is 25 ksi.

Aircraft Fuselage Loading

The twisting of the fuselage causes a shear

stress, twist of 25 ksi.

What is the normal and shear stress in the direction of
the 30o and -30o fibers?


Using the stress analysis equations, rotate

the stress state to plus and minus 30

Combined Stress (or Loads)

Stresses at a point (Stress Element)

for a Cantilever Beam
(Element on Beam is Movable)

In the previous sections, both the bending and shear

stresses were presented for beams. Recall, the
bending stress will cause a normal stress (either
tension or compression, depending on vertical
location) and the shear stress will cause a tearing
stress. Both of the stresses can act at the same point
and should be considered at the same time. Since only
linear elastic materials are considered in this eBook,
both stresses can be added together using the
principle of superposition. This is shown at the left on a
square element called a 'stress element'. This element
is really just a point, but to see the stress direction, the
point is shown as a square element.

Stress Element

The beam above is just one possible configuration for

multiple stresses acting at a point. Another possibility is
a pipe that is pulled, pressurized and twisted at the
same time. These three loads on the pipe will cause
tension normal stress in both directions (axial and
circumferential) and cause a twisting or shear stress.
All three loads and their associate stresses can be
combined together to give a total stress state at any

Stresses at a point (Stress Element)

for Pressurized Pipe

The stress element for this example is shown at the

left. This section will examine a stress element to
better understand stresses at a point and how they can
be analyzed.

Sign Convention for Stress Element

Sign Convention for Stress Element

Positive Directions

The sign convention for stresses at a point is similar to

other stresses. Normal tension stress in both the x and
y direction are assumed positive. The shear stress is
assumed positive as shown in the diagram at the left.
Shear stress act on four sides of the stress element,
causing a pinching or shear action. All shear stresses
on all four sides are the same, thus

xy = yx

Stress Rotation
In the Normal Stress section, stress on an inclined
plane was presented. It was noted that stresses are
not vector quantities, and are not rotated by just using
a single sin or cos function. For the normal and shear
stress on an inclined plane, the rotated stresses were
found to be
Stress on an Inclined Plane

Rotated Stress Element

Similarly, the stresses at a point (stress element) can

also be rotated to give a new stress state at any
particular angle. The rotation angle, , is assumed
positive using the right hand rule (counter-clockwise in
the x-y plane is positive). The new coordinate system
is labeled as x' and y'. The new rotated stresses are
shown in the diagram at the left. The shear
stresses,x'y' and y'x, are still equal.

The objective is to relate the new stress in x' and y'

coordinate system to the original stresses in the x and
y coordinate. To do this, the original stress element is
sliced at an angle , as shown in the diagram at the
left. The stresses on the cut plane must be in
equilibrium with the stresses on the outside surfaces of
the stress element. Remember, nothing is moving, so
all stresses and their associated forces must obey
static equilibrium equations, F = 0 and M = 0.

Plane Section through Stress Element

Before the stresses are actually summed, the area on

each surface needs to be defined. The plane section at
the angle is assumed to have a basic area of dA. The
stress element is really just a point, so the area is
infinitesimal, or just dA. The other two surfaces are
based on dA. The bottom surface will be 'sin dA' and
the left surface will be 'cos dA', which are shown in
the diagram at the left.
Summing the forces in each direction gives

Surface Area on Stress Element Plane

Fx = 0 = (x dA) cos - (xy dA) sin

- x (cos dA) - xy (sin dA)
Fy = 0 = (x dA) sin - (xy dA) cos

- y (sin dA) - xy (cos dA)

There are two unknowns, x and xy and two
equations, so they can be determined, giving

x = x cos2 + y sin2 + 2 xy sin cos

xy = - (x - y ) sin cos +xy (cos2 - sin2)
The y' direction can be developed in the same way, but
the section plane is 90o offset. The final equation is

y = x sin2 + y cos2 - 2 xy sin cos

Using double angle trigonometry identities, these three

equations can be simplified to

Rotated Stress Element

Stress Rotation Plot

To help visualize how the stress changes when the
stress element is rotated, the simulation at the left
plots x y and x y as a function of the angle. Notice,
the period is 180o. The initial stress state can be

Stress Rotation Tool


A plane fuselage undergoes both a pressure and twist
load. This causes a tension stress in both the
longitudinal and circumferential directions and a
twisting load or a shear stress.
If a stress element is cut from the fuselage, the
induced stresses can be shown in a common x-y
coordinate system. This longitudinal, or x-direction
would be 25 ksi. The circumferential or y-direction
would be 50 ksi. The shear stress would be 25 ksi.
These stresses are shown in the diagram at the left.
The shear arrows in the diagram are in the negative
direction, and thus the shear is a negative shear

Stress Element from Plane Fuselage

(Fibers oriented in 0o, 90o, 30o, and -30o)

Stresses in the +30o Fiber Direction

The stresses are requested in both the +30o and -30o.

For the +30o, the initial stress element is shown at the
left with the positive directions and thus the shear
stress is negative.
The stress element needs to be rotated 30o in the
positive direction. Using the stress transformation
equations, the stresses in the new x'-y' coordinate
system are
Initial and 30o Rotated Stress Element

Simplifying gives

x = 37.5 - 12.5(0.5) - 25(0.8660) = 9.600 ksi

y = 37.5 + 12.5(0.5) + 25(0.8660) = 65.40 ksi
xy = 12.5(0.8660) - 25(0.5) = -1.675 ksi

Stresses in the -30o Fiber Direction

The method to find the stresses in the -30o is the same

as for the +30o. Starting with the basic stress
transformation equations, gives

Initial and -30o Rotated Stress Element

Simplifying gives

x = 37.5 - 12.5(0.5) - 25(-0.8660) = 52.90 ksi

y = 37.5 + 12.5(0.5) + 25(-0.8660) = 22.10 ksi
xy = 12.5(-0.8660) - 25(0.5) = -23.33 ksi

Any Angle
It is interesting to plot the changing stresses as a
function of angle. As expected, the stresses vary in a
periodic cycle. Due to the double angle trigonometry
terms in all three equations, the period is 180 o.

Stress vs. Rotation Angle

What is the shear stress on a plane 42o from the horizontal
(plane a-a)?

Stress Element

The stress state at other orientations can be determined using

the stress rotation equations. This problems asks for the shear
stress on a plane 42o from the horizontal. The basic parameters

x = -10 ksi
y = -20 ksi
xy = 30 ksi
= 42o
Notice, the two normal stress are negative since the arrows in
the original problem diagram are pointing in the negative
Stress Element Rotated 42o

Using the shear stress rotation equation gives,

xy = - [(x -y) sin 2] / 2 + xy cos 2

= -[(-10 -(-20)) sin84] / 2 + 30 cos84
= -4.973 + 3.136 ksi

x'y' = -1.837 ksi



A new shelf system is planned to store large crates.

The shelves are relatively short but carry a large
distributed load. Each "T" beam is firmly fixed to the
wall and acts as a cantilever beam. The design team
would like to know what the largest shear stress in the
"T" at the joint between the top flange and bottom web
(point A).
What is known:

Each beam is loaded with a distributed load of

50 kN/m.

Location of point A is known for a given cross

section, but it is not known along the length of
the beam.

The dimensions of the beam are given in the

diagram. All beams are the same dimensions.

What is the maximum shearing stress at point A
anywhere along the beam length? What is the
maximum normal stress?


Shelf System

Determine the maximum bending moment

and shear load using shear-moment

Calculate the shear stress and bending stress

for the location with the maximum moment
and shear load.

Analyze the stress using a stress element.

Rotate the stress element so that the

orientation gives a maximum shear.

Rotate the stress element a second time to

give the maximum normal stress.


Maximum and Minimum Normal Stress

Rotating the stress state of a stress element can give

stresses for any angle. But usually, the maximum
normal or shear stresses are the most important. Thus,
this section will find the angle which will give the
maximum (or minimum) normal stress.
Start with the basic stress transformation equation for
the x or y direction.

Rotating Stresses from x-y Coordinate

System to new x'-y' Coordinate System

To maximize (or minimize) the stress, the derivative

ofx with respective to the rotation angle is equated
to zero. This gives,
dx / d = 0 - (x - x) sin2p + 2xy cos2p = 0
where subscript p represents the principal angle that
produces the maximum or minimum. Rearranging

The angle p can be substituted back into the rotation

stress equation to give the actual maximum and
minimum stress values. These stresses are commonly
referred to as 1 (maximum) and 2 (minimum),
Principal Stresses, 1 and 2,
at Principal Angle, p

For certain stress configurations, the absolute value

of2 (minimum) may actually be be larger
than 1(maximum).
For convenience, the principal stresses, 1 and 2, are
generally written as,

where the +/- is the only difference between the two

stress equations.
It is interesting to note that the shear stress, xy will go
to zero when the stress element is rotated p.

Maximum Shear Stress

Like the normal stress, the shear stress will also have
a maximum at a given angle, -max. This angle can be
determined by taking a derivative of the shear stress
rotation equation with respect to the angle and set
equate to zero.

Maximum Shear Stresses, max,

at Angle, -max

When the angle is substituted back into the shear

stress transformation equation, the shear stress
maximum is

The minimum shear stress will be the same absolute

value as the maximum, but in the opposite direction.
The maximum shear stress can also be found from the
principal stresses, 1 and 2, as

Plotting Stresses vs Angle

The relationships between principal normal stresses
and maximum shear stress can be better understood
by examining a plot of the stresses as a function of the
rotation angle.
Notice that there are multiple p and -max angles
because of the periodical nature of the equations.
However, they will give the same absolute values.

Stresses as a Function of Angle

At the principal stress angle, p, the shear stress will

always be zero, as shown in the diagram. And the
maximum shear stress will occur when the two
principal normal stresses, 1 and 2, are equal.

Principal Stresses in 3D

In some situations, stresses (both normal and shear)

are known in all three directions. This would give three
normal stresses and three shear stresses (some may
be zero, of course). It is possible to rotate a 3D plane
so that there are no shear stresses on that plane. Then
the three normal stresses at that orientation would be
the three principal normal stresses, 1, 2 and 3.
These three principal stress can be found by solving
the following cubic equation,

This equation will give three roots, which will be the

three principal stresses for the given three normal
stresses (x, y and z) and the three shear stresses
(xy, yz and zx).


Before the stress state at point A can be analyzed for
maximum shear and normal stresses, the maximum
bending moment and shear load in the beam needs to
be determined.
From the maximum bending moment, the maximum
bending stress can be found. Also, from the maximum
shear load, the maximum shear stress can be
determined. Both of these stresses are in the beam
oriented coordinate system.

Beam Loading

After bending and shear stresses are found, the stress

element can be rotated to given the absolute maximum

shear stress. This stress state will most likely be

something other than the natural beam coordinate
and Cross Section

There are a number of preliminary steps required to

find both the beam shear stress and bending stress.
These include determining the moment-shear diagram,
the neutral axis, moment of inertia, I, and the first
moment of the area, Q.

Moment -Shear Diagrams

To find the maximum bending moment and shear load,
the moment and shear equations can be used. Cutting
the structure and summing the forces and moments,

Fy = 0 = V - 50(0.2 - x)
V = (10 - 50x) kN

M = 0 = M - 50 (0.2 - x) (0.2 - x)/2

Shear-Moment Diagrams

M = (1 - 10 x + 25 x2) kN-m
The maximum shear and moment will be at the wall,
Vmax = 10 kN and Mmax = 1 kN-m

Neutral Axis and Moment of Inertia

The neutral axis is critical in finding the cross section
moment of inertia and the first moment of the area.

Neutral Axis Location

The moment of inertia for full cross section is,

I = I1 + y12 A1 + I2 + y22 A2
= 40(10)3/12 + (50 - 38.33 + 10/2)2(40)(10)
+ 10(50)3/12 + (38.33 - 50/2)2(50)(10)

= 307,500 mm4 = 3.075 10-7 m4

First Moment of the Area, Q

The first moment of the area, Q, is needed to
determine the shear stress at point A. The area below
or above point A can be used to calculate Q. If the area
above is used, then Q is

First Moment of Area 1

Q = y1A1 = (50 - 38.33 + 10/2)(40)(10)

= 16.67 (400)
= 6,668 mm3 = 6.668 10-6 m3

Normal and Shear Stress at the Wall

(at Point A)
The maximum moment and shear occur at the wall and
thus the maximum stresses will also occur at the wall.
The normal stress at point A is

b = My/I
= (1 kN-m)(0.01167 m)/(3.075 10-7 m4)
= 37.95 MPa
The shear stress at A, is
Distance from NA to Point A

= 21.68 MPa

Maximum Shear Stress

Stress State at Point A Near Wall

(all arrows pointing in positive directions)

The bending stress and shear stress at point A is

shown on a stress element at the left. The bending
stress is considered to be acting in the x direction.
There is no normal vertical stress, so y is zero. The
shear stress is acting down on the right edge of the
stress element. Thus, the stress is negative and the
shear stress on the right edge is drawn in the up

The maximum shear stress is

= 28.81 MPa
This occurs at an angle of

Rotated Stress State at Point A

for Maximum Shear Stress

-max = 20.60o
The rotated normal stresses are equal when the shear
stress is a maximum, giving

x = y = (x + y)/2 = 37.95/2 = 18.98 MPa

All rotated stresses are labeled on the stress element
at the left. Notice, the shear stress is actually negative
when the shear stress rotation equation is used. On
the other hand, the maximum shear stress equation
above can be either positive or negative due to the
square root.

Maximum Normal Stresses

The maximum normal stress, or principal
stresses 1and 2, are

Rotated Stress State at Point A

for Maximum Normal Stress

= 18.98 28.81 MPa = 47.79, -9.83 MPa

This occurs at an angle of

p = -24.41o

Rotated Stresses as a Function of Angle

It is interesting to visualize the stresses for any angle

by plotting the stresses as a function of . This is
shown in the diagram at the left. Note, the stresses
have a period of , or 180o. This is due to the
symmetric nature of the stresses.

What is the maximum shear stress in the stress element

Stress Element

The stress state shows the normal stresses, x and y, to

be positive (tension) but the shear stress arrows are in
the negative direction. Thus, the stress state is
x = 10.1 ksi
y = 6.2 ksi
xy = -3.7 ksi

The maximum shear stress is,

Rotated Stress Element

This could be either positive or negative due to the

square root. Angle that the max shear stress acts at is,

2-max = 27.79o (or -152.21 )

p = 13.90o

max = 4.182 ksi @ 13.90o

It is interesting to note, the new normal stresses are,
x' = y' = (x+ y)/2 = 8.15 ksi


A rail car needs to transport pressurized gas and due
to shipping constraints, each cylinder can have only a
diameter of 34 cm (inside dimension). The end caps
are not considered in this initial design.
What is known:

Cylindrical Gas Pressure Vessels

on Rail Car

Internal pressure is 10 MPa.

Inside diameter of a single vessel is 34 cm.

Yield (allowable) stress for the steel shell is

250 MPa.

Factor of Safety is 2.0.

The vessels should be designed to meet

themaximum distortion energy criteria for
predicting failure.



What is the minimum wall thickness in the cylindrical

section of the gas pressure vessel?


Determine the hoop and axial stresses as a

function of the thickness.

Apply the factor of safety.

Use the maximum distortion energy criteria

equation to determine the wall thickness.

Thin-walled Pressure Vessels
Both cylinderical and spherical pressure vessels are
common structures that are used ranging from large
gas storage structures to small compressed air tanks
in industrial equipment. In this section, only thin-walled
pressure vessels will be analyzed.
A pressure vessel is assumed to be thin-walled if the
wall thickness is less than 10% of the radius (r/t > 10).
This condition assumes that the pressure load will be
transfered into the shell as pure tension (or
compression) without any bending. Thin-walled
pressure vessels are also known as shell structures
and are efficient storage structures.
Cylindrical Pressure Vessel with
Internal Pressure

If the outside pressure is greater than the inside

pressure, the shell could also fail due to buckling. This
is an advanced topic and is not considered in this

Cylindrical Pressure Vessels

Only the middle cylindrical section of a cylinder
pressure vessel is examined in this section. The joint
between the end caps and the mid-section will have
complex stresses that are beyond the discussion in
this chapter.

Cylindrical Vessels will Expierence

Both Hoop and Axial Stress in
the Mid-section

In the mid-section, the pressure will cause the vessel

to expand or strain in only the axial (or longitudinal)
and the hoop (or circumferential) directions. There will
be no twisting or shear strains. Thus, there will only be
the hoop stress, h and the axial stress, a. as shown
in the diagram at the left.

Pressure vessels can be analyzed by cutting them into

two sections, and then equating the pressure load at
the cut with the stress load in the thin walls. In the
axial direction, the axial pressure from the discarded
sections will produce a total axial force of p(r2) which
is simply the cross section area times the internal
pressure. It is generally assumed that r is the inside
The axial force is resisted by the axial stress in the
vessel walls which have a thickness of t. The total axial
load in the walls will be a(2rt). Since the cross
section is in equilbrium, the two axial forces must be
equal, giving
Cross Section Cut of
Cylindrical Vessel

p(r2) = a(2rt)
This can be simplified to

where r is the inside radius and t is the wall thickness.

In addition to the axial stress, there will be a hoop

stress around the circumference. The hoop stress, h,
can be determined by taking a vertical hoop section
that has a width of dx. The total horizontal pressure
load pushing against the section will be p(2r dx) as
shown in the diagram.
The top and bottom edge section will resist the
pressure and exert a load of h(t dx) (each edge). The
edge loads have to equal the pressure load, or
p(2r dx) =h(2t dx)
This can be simplified to
Hoop Section Cut from
Cylindrical Vessel

where r is the inside radius and t is the wall thickness.

Spherical Pressure Vessel

A spherical pressure vessel is really just a special case

of a cylinderical vessel. No matter how the a sphere is
cut in half, the pressure load perpendicular to the cut
must equal the shell stress load. This is the same
situation with the axial direction in a cylindrical vessel.
Equating the to loads give,
p(r2) = h(2rt)
This can be simplified to
Spherical Pressure Vessel
Cut in Half

Notice, the hoop and axial stress are the same due to


A gas storage tank needs to be designed to hold
pressurized gas at 10 MPa. The tank inside diameter is
set at 34 cm due to tank stacking system on a rail car.
For safety reasons, a factor of safety of 2.0 is required.
The material is steel with a yield stress of 250 MPa. The
thickness of the material needs to be determined.

Cylindrical Gas Storage Tank

To account for the stress interaction between the hoop

and axial directions, the maximum distortion energy
theory (von Mises' Yield Criterion) will be used to predict
It is assumed that the end caps will not fail and only the
cylinder middle section will be considered (end cap
stresses are complex and not studied in this eBook).

Hoop and Axial Stresses

Functions for the hoop and axial stress can be
determined for a cylindrical pressure vessel. These are

h = Pr/t = (10 MPa)(0.17 m)/t = 1.7/t

h = Pr/(2t) = (10 MPa)(0.17 m)/(2t) = 0.85/t

Both the stresses are functions of t.

Failure Criteria
The maximum distortion energy criteria takes into
consideration stresses in multiple directions. The
equation is

Stress Element at Cylinder Section

or for this case,

The yield stress is given as 250 MPa. However, to

account for a factor of safety of 2.0, the actual yield
stress is reduced in half. Substituting into the failure
equation gives,

2.890 + 0.7225 - 1.445 = 15,625 t2

t = 0.1178 m = 11.78 mm


A Partial Section of a Penstock

A penstock for a hydraulic power plant has an inside

diameter of 1.5 m and is composed of wooden staves
bound together by steel hoops. The cross-sectional area
for each steel hoop is 300 mm2. If the allowable tensile
stress for the steel is 130 MPa, what is the maximum
space, L, between the hoop bands under a head of water
of 30 m? The mass density of water is 1,000 kg/m3. The
water pressure can be assumed to be the same at all
interior locations of the penstock.

The pressure corresponding to a head of 30 m water is
given by
p = gh
= (1,000) (9.81) (30)
= 294 kPa

Spacing of the Steel Hoops

in the Penstock

Circumferential stress in the steel bands is considered as

the failure criteria for a safe design. If the maximum
spacing between hoops is denoted as L, then each hoop
must resist the water pressure over a length L of the

The bursting force F, acting over the flat surface of the

fluid equals the pressure intensity p multiplied by the
area, DL, over which it acts.
F = pDL
= (294) (1.5) L
= 441 L
This bursting force will be resisted by the equal forces P
acting on each cut surface of the cylindrical wall.
Assuming the whole resisting force will be given by the
steel hoops,
P = A
= (30010-6) (130103) kN
= 39 kN
Applying the summation of forces,
Direct Evaluation of Bursting Force F

F = 0
F - 2P = 0
F = 2P

441 L = 2 (39)
L = 0.1769 m = 177 mm



A bracket is expected to carry a large load and the

designers need to know the maximum shear strain.
The problem is there is no way to measure shear
strain accurately. Also, they do not know what
direction the maximum shear strain will be a
However, they do have a new laser instrument that
can accurately measure the displacement between
any two points on an object.
What is known:

Four points are spaced 1 cm apart to form a

perfect square (before loading).

Laser measuring device determines the total

distance between point O and the other three
points after loading is:

Pt 1 Pt 2

Aircraft Fuselage Loading

Distance (cm)

What is the maximum shear strain in the area of


Calculate the normal strains between all


Set up a basic coordinate system with OC the

x-axis and OA the y-axis.

Use the strain transformation equations to

determine the shear strain in the x-y
coordinate system.

Find the maximum shear strain.