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SAFETY

FIRST

THEORIES OF FAILURE
FOS

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Introduction
In our subject of Mechanics, we have studied about different
types of loads such as tensile, compressive, torsional,
bending , etc., but in our real life the machine elements are
subjected to several types of loads simultaneously. Example

In machine design, an
element is said to have
failed if it ceases to perform
its function. There are
basically two types of
mechanical failure-
a)Yielding 2
REQUIREMENT OF THEORY OF
FAILURE
Theories of failure are used to determine the safe dimension
of a component when it is subjected to combined stresses
due to various loads.
Theories of failure are used in establishing a relationship
between stresses induced under combined loading conditions
and properties obtained from tensile test like Syt & Sut.

DIFFERENCE IN DUCTILE & BRITTLE


MATERIAL
There is a sharp line of difference between ductile and brittle
materials. However a rough guideline is that if percentage of
elongation is less than 5% then the material may be treated
as brittle and if more than 15% then ductile.
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CATEGORIES OF FAILURE
Though failure theory has been in development for over 200
years, but till date ,none of the theory is applicable in all
situation. Several theories have been proposed, each
assuming a different hypothesis of failure. The principal
theories of elastic failure are as follows:

a)Maximum Principal Stress Theory


b)Maximum Shear Stress Theory
c)Distortion Energy Theory
d)Maximum Strain Theory
e)Maximum Total Strain Energy Theory

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MAXIMUM PRINCIPAL STRESS
THEORY
The theory states that the failure of the mechanical
component subjected to bi-axial or tri-axial stresses occurs
when the maximum principal stress reaches the yield or
ultimate strength of the material.
If 1 , 2 and 3 are the three principal stresses at a
point on the component and
1 > 2 > 3
then according to this theory, the failure occurs whenever
whichever is applicable.

1 = Syt or 2 = Sut
The dimensions of the component are determined by using a
FOS.

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The theory consider only the maximum of principal stresses
and disregards the influence of the other principal stresses.
Experimental investigation suggest that this theory gives
good predications of brittle materials. However ,it is not
recommended for ductile materials.

1 = - Syt 1 = Syt

2 Syc
2 = Syc

1
-Syt S yt

2 = - Syc
-Syc
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MAXIMUM SHEAR STRESS THEORY
The theory states that the failure of mechanical component
subjected to bi-axial or tri axial stresses occurs when the
maximum shear stress at any point in the component
becomes equal to the maximum shear stress in the standard
specimen of the tension test, when yielding starts.
So, according to theory, we have

max = 1 /2
Or, max = 0.5 x Syt

Therefore, the maximum shear stress theory predicts that the


yield strength in shear is half the yield strength in tension .

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From the result of this equations can be written as
1 - 2 = Syt
1 = Syt
2 = Syt

Syc
1

yt
-S
2=
-

- Syt Syt
1

t
Sy
+
2=
-
1

- Syc
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DISTORTION-ENERGY THEORY
The theory states the failure of the mechanical component
subjected to bi-axial or tri axial occurs when the energy of
distortion per unit of volume at any point in the component ,
becomes equal to the strain energy of the distortion per unit of
volume in the standard specimen of tension-test, when the
yielding starts.
Now, we have total strain energy U can be resolved into two
components-
U = Uv + Ud
where, U = total strain energy ,
Uv = change of volume with no distortion of the
element
Ud = the distortion of the element with no change of
volume
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So, the expression of this theory after solving-
Ud = ((1 + )/6E)[ (1 2)2 + (2 - 3)2 + (3 - 1 )2 ]

The failure is thus obtained by replacing 1 = Syt and 2 = 3 = 0


equating the two equation we get
Syt = [ (1 2)2 + (2 - 3)2 + (3 - 1 )2 ]
as an equation of ellipse if considered in 2-D

Syt
2

-Syc Syc
1

-Syc

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MAXIMUM PRINCIPAL STRAIN
THEORY
According to this theory, yielding will occur when the maximum principle
strain just exceeds the strain at the tensile yield point in either simple
tension or compression.
If 1 and 2 are maximum and minimum principle strains corresponding
to 1 and 2 , in the limiting case 2 Syc
1 = 1 /E + 2/E
& 1 = y / E
This gives , -Syt Syt
1
1 + 2 = y
The boundary of the yield surface
in this case is thus given as
-Syc

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MAXIMUM STRAIN ENERGY THEORY
According to this theory, failure would occur when the total strain
energy absorbed at a point per unit volume exceeds the strain
energy absorbed per unit volume at the tensile yield point.
This may be written as

U= 1/2E [( 12 + 22 + 32) -2(1 2 + 2 3 + 1


3)]
Substituting , 1 = y & 3 = 0 in terms of stresses, thus we have

U= 1/2E [( 12 + 22) -2(1 2)] = y2 /2E


This can be written as

12 + 22 - 21 2 = y2
which is an equation of ellipse.
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2
Syt

1
-Syc Syc

-Syc
It has been shown that only distortion energy can cause
yielding but in the above expression at sufficiently high
hydrostatic pressure , yielding may also occur.
From the above equations we can say that at stress level lower
than yielding stress, yielding would occur. This is in contrast
to the experimental as well as analytical conclusion and the
theory is not appropriate

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COMPARISON 2 MAX. PRINCIPAL STRAIN

THEORY

DISTORTION ENERGY
THEOY

MAX. STRAIN MAX. SHEAR STRESS


THEORY
ENERGY THEORY

MAX. PRINCIPAL STRESS


THEORY

Out of the 5 theories discussed, the maximum Shear stress theory or


Von-mises theory is the most valuable one for ductile material, and maximum
principal stress theory for brittle material.

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CONCLUSION
To summarise, the maximum principal stress theory is the
proper choice for brittle materials. For ductile materials, the
choice of theory depends on the level of accuracy required and
the degree of computational difficulty the designer is ready to
face. For ductile materials, the most accurate way to design is to
use distortion energy theory of failure and the easiest way to
design is to apply maximum shear stress theory. While the other
two are not generally used as of its inaccuracy and is only used is
specific situation.
These theories all together are used in quite a significant way
to integrate with the life cycle, costs, efficiency, safety, durability
and several other requirements, and hence better machine parts,
efficient automobile and aircrafts, durable wind turbines, and
many other emerging technologies are being developed.

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