Breaking Stress

Definition - What does Breaking Stress mean?

Breaking stress is the maximum force that can be applied on a cross sectional area of a material in such a way that the material is unable to withstand any additional amount of stress before breaking.

Breaking stress is calculated with the formula:

Breaking Stress = Force / Area

Breaking stress testing for metals determines how much a particular alloy will elongate before it reaches its ultimate tensile strength and how much load a particular piece of metal can accommodate before it loses structural integrity. Therefore, it is a very important concept in material science and for safety considerations.

Breaking stress may also be known as ultimate tensile stress or breaking strength.

Corrosionpedia explains Breaking Stress

The breaking stress of a material is the maximum amount of tensile stress that the material can withstand before failure, such as breaking or permanent deformation.

The tensile strength specifies the point at which a material goes from elastic to plastic deformation. It is expressed as the minimum tensile stress (force per unit area) needed to split the material apart.

For example, if a metal rod with a one square inch cross section can withstand a pulling force of 1,000 pounds but breaks if more force is applied, the metal has a breaking stress or strength of 1,000 pounds per square inch. The breaking stress for structural steel is 400 megapascals (MPa) and for carbon steel is 841 MPa. The breaking stress is different for different densities of steel.

Breaking stress is a limit state of tensile stress that leads to tensile failure in one of two manners:

  • Ductile failure - Some yield as the first stage of failure, some hardening in the second stage and breakage after a possible "neck" formation.
  • Brittle failure - Suddenly breaking in two or more pieces at a low stress state.

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