Strength is the property of a material which enables it to resist fracture under load. This is most important property as it helps us to identify load value under which material will fail. The stronger the materials the greater the load it can withstand.

Strength of materials deals with the relations between the external forces applied to elastic bodies and the resulting deformations and stresses. In the design of structures and machines, the application of the principles of strength of materials is necessary if satisfactory materials are to be utilized and adequate proportions obtained to resist functional forces.

Forces are produced by the action of gravity, by accelerations and impacts of moving parts, by gasses and fluids under pressure, by the transmission of mechanical power, etc. In order to analyze the stresses and deflections of a body, the magnitudes, directions and points of application of forces acting on the body must be known.

The time element in the application of a force on a body is an important consideration. Thus a force may be static or change so slowly that its maximum value can be treated as if it were static; it may be suddenly applied, as with an impact; or it may have a repetitive or cyclic behavior.

The environment in which forces act on a machine or part is also important. Such factors as high and low temperatures; the presence of corrosive gases, vapors and liquids; radiation, etc. may have a marked effect on how well parts are able to resist stresses.

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