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Theories of Failure

Scope of study:
1. Maximum-Shear-Stress Theory (Tresca Yield Criterion)
2. Maximum Distortion Energy Theory (Huber or von Mises & Hencky)
3. Maximum Normal Stress Theory (Rankine)
4. Mohrs Failure Criterion
5. Maximum-Normal-Strain Criterion (St Venants Criterion)
Learning Outcome:
1. Understand importance of theories of failure.
2. Able to identify when and where to use the theories.
3. Able to analyse design problems using the most suitable
theory of failure.
Theories of Failure
Important to place an upper limit on the state of stress that defines a
materials failure for design purposes.
Failure of a ductile material is by the initiation of yielding.
Failure of a brittle material is by fracture.
Criteria for failure difficult to establish for components subjected to
multiaxial stress.
Theories of failure used to determine the allowable stresses stated in
many design codes. However, no single theory can be used for a
material all the time due to effect of temperature, rate of loading,
chemical environment and production method.
The theories are based on knowing principle stresses at the location
of largest stress in the component.

1. Maximum-Shear-Stress Theory (Tresca Yield Criterion)
Yielding in ductile materials are usually caused by
slipping along crystal contact planes due to shear
stress.
Lders lines are edges of slippage appearing on
highly polished thin strip subjected to uniaxial
yield stress.
For element under uniaxial yield
stress, the shear stress acting on
45
o
planes is

2
Y
xy
o
t =
Henri Tresca (1868) :
Yielding begins when the absolute maximum shear stress in the material
reaches the the shear stress that causes the same material to yield under
simple tension test. Therefore
2
Y
max
abs
o
t =
For plane stress
Y
o o =
1
Y
o o =
2
Y
o o o =
2 1
o
1
, o
2
have same signs
o
1
, o
2
have opposite
signs
Material fails when its in-plane principle
stresses is on or outside the boundary
2. Maximum Distortion Energy Theory (Huber or von Mises & Hencky)
Deformed materials tend to store energy
internally throughout its volume.
Energy per unit volume is called strain-energy
density.
For uniaxial stress, u = yoc
For triaxial principle stresses,
u = yo
1
c
1
+ yo
2
c
2
+ yo
3
c
3
=

+
Applying Hookes law for linear-elastic material, the strain energy density
equation becomes
( ) | |
3 2 3 1 2 1
2
3
2
2
2
1
2
2
1
o o o o o o v o o o + + + + =
E
u
M. Huber (1904) : - from experimental evidence
Yielding in a ductile material occurs when the distortion-energy per unit
volume equals or exceeds the distortion-energy per unit volume of the
same material under simple tension test.
Distortion energy per unit volume:
( ) ( ) ( ) | |
2
1 3
2
3 2
2
2 1
6
1
o o o o o o
v
+ +
+
=
E
u
d
For plane stress o
3
= 0 and u
d
= (u
d
)
Y
Hence

2 2
2 2 1
2
1 Y
o o o o o = +
Maximum-shear-stress theory (Tresca) and Maximum-distortion-energy
theory (von Mises) gives the same result when the principle stresses are
equal, i.e. o
1
= o
2
= o
Y
, or when one principle stress is zero and the other o
Y
.
However, under pure shear condition,
the maximum-distortion-energy theory
is 15% more accurate then the
maximum-shear-stress theory.
For Brittle materials, we use two other theories:
1. Maximum Normal Stress Theory (Rankine)
2. Mohrs Failure Criterion
Brittle materials fail by sudden fracture with no apparent yielding.
In tension, failure occurs when the normal stress reaches o
ult
.
In torsion, failure is when the maximum tensile stress reaches o
ult
.

Maximum-Normal-Stress theory (Rankine) :
A brittle material will fail when the maximum principle stress o
1
in the material
reaches a limiting value equal to the ultimate normal stress for the material
under simple tension.
ult
o o =
1
ult
o o =
2
For Plane Stress,
This theory is suitable for brittle
materials having similar stress-
strain diagram in tension and
compression.
Mohrs Failure Criterion (Otto Mohr) is used for brittle materials with different
tension and compression properties. It uses Mohrs circle to predict failure of
the material.
Three tests are needed before applying this criterion:
A uniaxial tensile test to determine the ultimate tensile stress, (o
ult
)
t
.
A uniaxial compressive test to determine the ultimate tensile stress, (o
ult
)
c
.
A torsion test to determine the ultimate shear stress (t
ult
).

Circle A : o
1
= o
2
= 0, o
3
= -(o
ult
)
c
Circle B : o
1
= (o
ult
)
t
, o
2
= o
3
= 0
Circle C : pure shear stress
condition caused by t
ult
.
If a plane stress condition at a point is represented by a circle that is
contained within the envelope it is said not to fail.
Or on a graph of principle stresses for plane stress, o
3
= 0, failure is said to
occur when either of the principle stresses reaches a value equal to or
greater than (o
ult
)
t
or (o
ult
)
c
.

Both the theory can be used
to predict the failure of
brittle material. However
their usefulness is quite
limited due to stress
concentration effects in
tension.
Maximum Shear Stress Theory (Tresca)

Maximum Distortion Energy Theaory (von Mises)

Maximum Normal Stress Theory (Rankine)

Mohrs Failure Criterion

Y
o o =
1
Y
o o =
2 Y
o o o =
2 1
2 2
2 2 1
2
1 Y
o o o o o = +
ult
o o =
1 ult
o o =
2
Circle A : o
1
= o
2
= 0, o
3
= -(o
ult
)
c
Circle B : o
1
= (o
ult
)
t
, o
2
= o
3
= 0
Circle C : pure shear stress
condition caused by t
ult
.
Maximum Normal Strain Criterion (St Venants Criterion)
Failure may occur when the maximum value of normal strain in the
component reaches the value c
U
of the strain at which a tensile test
specimen of the same material will fail.
o
a
o
U
o
U
-o
U
-o
U
o
b
v
o
+ 1
U
v
o
1
U
Maximum strain occurs along one of
the principle axes of stress for an
isotropic, homogeneous and elastic
material. Thus
a
c < c
U
b
c < c
U
o
1
vo
2
vo
3
= o
U

Suitable only for brittle materials.
Rarely used.
Fracture Mechanics