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Photostress Images For Teaching Mechanics Of Materials

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

What's New in Mechanics of Materials?

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.991.1 - 11.991.12



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Paper Authors

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Nashwan Younis Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Photostress Images for Teaching Mechanics of Materials


A new approach to teaching Mechanics of Materials is described in this paper with the description of classroom implementation. In particular, it addresses the use of the photoelastic (photostress) images to enhance the learning of axial, bearing, and contact stresses. The images can be used to visuilize the limitations of the theory that are not possible within the confines of textbooks. The student’s reaction to the new approach is presented and assessed.


Engineering students respond well to visual examples. Several papers have added an instructional perspective to enhance the teaching of mechanics courses to undergraduate students. For example, one paper proposed the use of the optical method of caustics to study the effects of the presence of a crack in machine components and structural members1; experiments were included as visuals to the students on the state of stress at a crack tip. In 2005, the approach was further extended to study the development of stress concentration around circular holes2. The impact of demonstrations to acquaint students with the Statics concepts in the context of a real artifact was articulated by Steif 3. A different approach regarding the teaching of a mechanics course came from Philpot et. al 4. They presented examples of instructional media developed for the Mechanics of Materials course, utilizing computer in novel ways that offer the potential for improved instruction.

This article addresses the use of photoelastic method as a means of illustrating several basic concepts in the introductory Mechanics of Materials course. Several images of a tension member with bolted connection plates are presented to illustrate the development of stresses in a two-force member as well as reinforcing the Saint-Venant’s theory.

Mechanics of Materials

At the sophomore level, students in an aerospace, civil, mechanical, and perhaps other engineering programs are introduced to the concepts of stress and strain in a solid body through the Mechanics/Strength of Materials course. The principles and methods used to meet the

Younis, N. (2006, June), Photostress Images For Teaching Mechanics Of Materials Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--232

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