Materials in Today's World

Examples of Materials Under Stress

Ski lift with three areas highlighted as stated in text below.
Ski lift.
Credit: P.M. Anderson

If we look at a picture of a ski lift, we can see several different types of stress. The cable, highlighted in the box labeled A, is subject to tensile stress. The driveshaft, highlighted in the box labeled B, is experiencing torsional stress. The support pillar, highlighted in box labeled C, is subject to compressional stress. In the two figures below, the boulder is applying a compressive stress on the rock that is supporting it and the metal struts of the bridge are experiencing compressive stress while supporting the upper structure of the bridge.

The image on the left is showing compressional stress on a rock and the image on the right is showing compressive stress on the metal struts of a bridge.
Compressive stress in boulders and bridge.
Credit: P.M. Anderson