14 Jun 2019 Stress Tensor
For anybody who wants to assess FEA results, it is important to understand the concept of the Stress Tensor.
A tensor is a mathematical entity. Other, more commonly known mathematical entities are scalars and vectors (although these two are actually just special forms of tensors).
Simply speaking, a scalar is a number (magnitude), for example the mass of a body. A scalar doesn’t have a direction. A vector is a magnitude with a direction, e.g. the weight of a body (the weight is a force). A tensor consists of several magnitudes, all with their directions.
Tensors are used for mathematical operations in various fields of application. In continuum mechanics, they are used to describe a three-dimensional stress state e.g. in a FEA solid element.
That means, the stress result of a FE analysis is not just a magnitude, but actually a tensor. At any point in a FEA model, there are many stress results, which are the components of the stress tensor.
Depending on the material used, certain components of the stress tensor are taken into account to assess if the FEA results indicate a safe operation. Read more about this assessment process in our blog next week.
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