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Chapter 16 Stress and Strain

Have you wondered how trusses can support large weights above them? How much weight can be placed before a beam will give way? How far above a ladder is it safe to climb? These and many other questions like them address the balance of forces on and within physical structures. They are the subject of a branch of mechanics called statics.

We will review the salient aspects of statics in this chapter and apply them to understand stress that develops in a body when subjected to external forces. A study of the static equilibrium helps us with the design of mechanical structures that would be stable for a wide range of conditions, and avoid disastrous situations such as the collapse of a building.