Compression Force

Reviewed by Raghvendra GopalCheckmark
Last updated: October 6, 2021

What Does Compression Force Mean?

Compression force is the force generated from compressing an object or substance. When shearing forces are aligned into each other, they are called compression forces. The compressive strength of materials and structures is an important engineering consideration.

Every material suffers some deformation when put under compression, even if imperceptible, that causes the average relative positions of its atoms and molecules to change. The deformation may be permanent, or may be reversed when the compression forces disappear. Different results can also be generated based on the factors that determine them, including the direction or position of the object to which the compressive force is applied.

Compression testing, along with tensile and torsion tests, is one of the most significant types of mechanical testing.


Corrosionpedia Explains Compression Force

Compression force is force acting on a body, compressing it. The application of a compression force to an object causes it to become squashed or compacted. Some solid materials, like stone and ceramics, are able to withstand very large compressive forces with very little measurable deformation, which make them a suitable building material for the construction of high walls and columns.

Compressive forces may be applied in multiple directions, such as inwards along the edges of a plate or all over the side surface of a cylinder, so as to reduce its area (biaxial compression); or inwards over the entire surface of a body, so as to reduce its volume. Compressive force is the force required to achieve maximum shielding effectiveness. The higher the pressure or compression force, the lower the impedance. A minimum closure force is recommended to obtain low surface contact resistivity and good shielding. Minimum closure force is that pressure required to break through corrosive and oxide films to make low-resistance contact.

Suspension bridges are an example of a rigid structure that is designed to withstand compression forces over a long distance. When vehicles pass over the bridge, the columns and beams used to support the bridge undergo compression force. Meanwhile, the anchorages and suspension cables are put under tension. These two phenomena working together essentially transfer the compressive force load across the entire bridge to maintain a sound, stable driving surface. This is a key principle that allows suspension bridges to cover longer distances than other bridge types.

Compression testing, along with tensile and torsion testing, is one of the most significant types of mechanical testing. A compression test is used to find out the behavior of a material under applied loads and is normally performed using specialized fixtures on a universal testing machine by applying compressive pressure to a test specimen, typically of either a cylindrical geometry or a cuboid. Various material properties are measured and plotted during the test as a stress-strain diagram. The properties measured are yield point, yield strength, elastic limit, proportional limit and compressive strength.

A compression force test for any material can be defined as involving at least two opposing forces, aimed at each other. Triaxial, biaxial, uniaxial, creep, rise in temperature and fatigue are all examples of different compression force tests that can be performed on a material.


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