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Cylinder stress

1.1 Hoop stress

The hoop stress is the force exerted circumferentially
(perpendicular both to the axis and to the radius of the
object) in both directions on every particle in the cylinder wall. It can be described as:


F is the force exerted circumferentially on an area of

the cylinder wall that has the following two lengths
as sides:

t is the radial thickness of the cylinder

Components of cylinder or circumferential stress.

l is the axial length of the cylinder

In mechanics, a cylinder stress is a stress distribution
with rotational symmetry; that is, which remains un- An alternative to hoop stress in describing circumferential
changed if the stressed object is rotated about some xed stress is wall stress or wall tension (T), which usually is
dened as the total circumferential force exerted along
the entire radial thickness:[1]
Cylinder stress patterns include:
Circumferential stress or hoop stress, a normal T =
stress in the tangential (azimuth) direction;
Along with axial stress and radial stress, circumferential
Axial stress, a normal stress parallel to the axis of
cylindrical symmetry;
Radial stress, a stress in directions coplanar with
but perpendicular to the symmetry axis.
The classical example (and namesake) of hoop stress is
the tension applied to the iron bands, or hoops, of a
wooden barrel. In a straight, closed pipe, any force applied to the cylindrical pipe wall by a pressure dierential will ultimately give rise to hoop stresses. Similarly, if
this pipe has at end caps, any force applied to them by
static pressure will induce a perpendicular axial stress on
the same pipe wall. Thin sections often have negligibly Cylindrical coordinates
small radial stress, but accurate models of thicker-walled
stress is a component of the stress tensor in cylindrical
cylindrical shells require such stresses to be taken into accoordinates.
It is usually useful to decompose any force applied to an
object with rotational symmetry into components parallel
to the cylindrical coordinates r, z, and . These com1 Denitions
ponents of force induce corresponding stresses: radial
stress, axial stress and hoop stress, respectively.

Relation to internal pressure


2.2 Thick-walled vessels

When the cylinder to be studied has a r/t ratio of less than

10 (often cited as 20) the thin-walled cylinder equations
no longer hold since stresses vary signicantly between
For the thin-walled assumption to be valid the vessel must
inside and outside surfaces and shear stress through the
have a wall thickness of no more than about one-tenth (ofcross section can no longer be neglected.
ten cited as one twentieth) of its radius. This allows for
treating the wall as a surface, and subsequently using the These stresses and strains can be calculated using the
YoungLaplace equation for estimating the hoop stress Lam equations, a set of equations developed by French
created by an internal pressure on a thin-walled cylindri- mathematician Gabriel Lam.
cal pressure vessel:



Thin-walled assumption



r = A


= A +


A and B are constants of integration, which may be
discovered from the boundary conditions

P is the internal pressure

t is the wall thickness
r is the mean radius of the cylinder.
is the hoop stress.
The hoop stress equation for thin shells is also approximately valid for spherical vessels, including plant cells and
bacteria in which the internal turgor pressure may reach
several atmospheres.

r is the radius at the point of interest (e.g., at the

inside or outside walls)
A and B may be found by inspection of the boundary conditions. For example, the simplest case is a solid cylinder:
if Ri = 0 then B = 0 and a solid cylinder cannot have
an internal pressure so A = Po

3 Practical eects

Inch-pound-second system (IPS) units for P are pounds- 3.1 Engineering

force per square inch (psi). Units for t, and d are inches
(in). SI units for P are pascals (Pa), while t and d=2r are Fracture is governed by the hoop stress in the absence
in meters (m).
of other external loads since it is the largest principal
When the vessel has closed ends the internal pressure acts stress. Note that a hoop experiences the greatest stress
on them to develop a force along the axis of the cylinder. at its inside (the outside and inside experience the same
This is known as the axial stress and is usually less than total strain which however is distributed over dierent
circumferences), hence cracks in pipes should theoretithe hoop stress.
cally start from inside the pipe. This is why pipe inspections after earthquakes usually involve sending a camera
inside a pipe to inspect for cracks. Yielding is governed
z =
by an equivalent stress that includes hoop stress and the
(d + 2t)2 d2
longitudinal or radial stress when present.
Though this may be approximated to

3.2 Medicine

In the pathology of vascular or gastrointestinal walls, the

wall tension represents the muscular tension on the wall
Also in this situation a radial stress r is developed and of the vessel. As a result of the Law of Laplace, if an
aneurysm forms in a blood vessel wall, the radius of the
may be estimated in thin walled cylinders as:
vessel has increased. This means that the inward force on
the vessel decreases, and therefore the aneurysm will continue to expand until it ruptures. A similar logic applies
r =
to the formation of diverticuli in the gut.[2]
z =

Historical development of the


Stress concentration
Hydrostatic test
Blood pressure#Relation_to_wall_tension
Designs very aected by this stress:
Pressure vessel
Rocket engine
The dome of Florence Cathedral

6 References
[1] Tension in Arterial Walls By R Nave. Department of
Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University. Retrieved June 2011
[2] E. Goljan, Pathology, 2nd ed. Mosby Elsevier, Rapid Review Series.
[3] Jones, Stephen K. (2009). Brunel in South Wales. II:
Communications and Coal. Stroud: The History Press.
p. 247. ISBN 9780752449128.

Cast iron pillar of Chepstow Railway Bridge, 1852. Pin-jointed

wrought iron hoops (stronger in tension than cast iron) resist the
hoop stresses.[3]

The rst theoretical analysis of the stress in cylinders

was developed by the mid-19th century engineer William
Fairbairn, assisted by his mathematical analyst Eaton
Hodgkinson. Their rst interest was in studying the design and failures of steam boilers.[4] Fairbairn realised
that the hoop stress was twice the longitudinal stress, an
important factor in the assembly of boiler shells from
rolled sheets joined by riveting. Later work was applied
to bridge building, and the invention of the box girder.
In the Chepstow Railway Bridge, the cast iron pillars are
strengthened by external bands of wrought iron. The vertical, longitudinal force is a compressive force, which cast
iron is well able to resist. The hoop stress is tensile and so
wrought iron, a material with better tensile strength than
cast iron, is added.

See also
Can be caused by cylinder stress:
Boston Molasses Disaster
Boiler explosion
Related engineering topics:

[4] Fairbairn, William (1851). The Construction of Boilers. Two Lectures: The Construction of Boilers, and On
Boiler Explosions, with the means of prevention. p. 6.

Thin-walled Pressure Vessels. Engineering Fundamentals. 19 June 2008.


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