Strain energy is the energy stored in a body as a result of deformation, and it is represented by the symbol U with units of measurement in Joules (J) or Newtonmeter (Nm). The formula for strain energy can be expressed in various ways, depending on the information available.
Understanding Strain Energy Formulas
 Strain Energy Formula in Terms of Force and Compression Factor:
 Formula: U = 1/2 × F × δ

Where:
 U is the strain energy (in Joules)
 F is the force applied to the body (in Newtons)
 δ is the compression factor (in meters)

Strain Energy Formula in Terms of Stress, Young’s Modulus, and Volume:
 Formula: U = σ^2 / (2E) × V

Where:
 U is the strain energy (in Joules)
 σ is the value of stress (in Pascals)
 E is the Young’s modulus (in Pascals)
 V is the volume of the body (in cubic meters)

Strain Energy Formula in Terms of Stress, Strain, and Volume:
 Formula: U = 1/2 × σ × ε × V
 Where:
 U is the strain energy (in Joules)
 σ is the stress (in Pascals)
 ε is the strain (dimensionless)
 V is the volume of the body (in cubic meters)
Examples and Numerical Problems
 Example 1: Strain Energy Calculation Using Force and Compression Factor
 Given:
 Force (F) = 1200 N
 Compression factor (δ) = 3 m

Calculation:
 U = 1/2 × F × δ
 U = 1/2 × 1200 × 3 = 1800 J

Example 2: Strain Energy Calculation Using Stress, Young’s Modulus, and Volume
 Given:
 Stress (σ) = 500 Pa
 Young’s Modulus (E) = 120 Pa
 Volume (V) = 270 m^3

Calculation:
 U = σ^2 / (2E) × V
 U = (500 × 500) / (2 × 120 × 270) = 3.85 J

Numerical Problem 1: Strain Energy Calculation for a Cylindrical Bar
 Given:
 Diameter (d) = 20 mm
 Length (L) = 1 m
 Applied Force (F) = 5 kN
 Young’s Modulus (E) = 200 GPa

Calculation:
 Crosssectional Area (A) = π × (d/2)^2 = π × (0.02/2)^2 = 3.14 × 10^4 m^2
 Strain (ε) = F / (A × E) = 5000 / (3.14 × 10^4 × 200 × 10^9) = 0.0008
 Stress (σ) = F / A = 5000 / 3.14 × 10^4 = 16 MPa
 Strain Energy (U) = 1/2 × σ × ε × V = 1/2 × 16 × 10^6 × 0.0008 × 1 = 6.4 J

Numerical Problem 2: Strain Energy Calculation for a Rectangular Beam
 Given:
 Width (b) = 50 mm
 Height (h) = 100 mm
 Length (L) = 2 m
 Applied Force (F) = 10 kN
 Young’s Modulus (E) = 210 GPa
 Calculation:
 Crosssectional Area (A) = b × h = 0.05 × 0.1 = 0.005 m^2
 Strain (ε) = F / (A × E) = 10000 / (0.005 × 210 × 10^9) = 0.00048
 Stress (σ) = F / A = 10000 / 0.005 = 2 MPa
 Strain Energy (U) = 1/2 × σ × ε × V = 1/2 × 2 × 10^6 × 0.00048 × 2 = 0.96 J
Strain Energy Density
The strain energy per unit volume or strain energy density can also be calculated as the area under the stressstrain curve towards the site of deformation. It is equal to half the product of the stress and strain.
The formula for strain energy density (u) is:
u = 1/2 × σ × ε
Where:
– u is the strain energy density (in Joules per cubic meter, J/m^3)
– σ is the stress (in Pascals, Pa)
– ε is the strain (dimensionless)
Strain energy density is an important concept in the analysis of materials and structures, as it provides information about the energy stored in the material per unit volume.
Graphical Representation of Strain Energy
The strain energy can also be represented graphically as the area under the stressstrain curve. The area under the curve represents the total strain energy stored in the material.
In the diagram, the shaded area represents the strain energy stored in the material. The strain energy can be calculated by integrating the area under the stressstrain curve.
Factors Affecting Strain Energy
The amount of strain energy stored in a body depends on several factors, including:
 Material Properties: The material’s Young’s modulus, yield strength, and ultimate strength play a crucial role in determining the strain energy.
 Geometry: The shape and dimensions of the body, such as its length, crosssectional area, and volume, affect the strain energy.
 Loading Conditions: The type of loading (tension, compression, shear, or a combination) and the magnitude of the applied force or stress influence the strain energy.
 Deformation: The amount of deformation or displacement experienced by the body, as represented by the strain, directly affects the strain energy.
Understanding these factors is essential in accurately calculating and analyzing the strain energy in various engineering applications.
Applications of Strain Energy
Strain energy is a fundamental concept in engineering and has numerous applications, including:
 Structural Analysis: Strain energy is used to analyze the behavior of structures, such as beams, columns, and trusses, under various loading conditions.
 Material Selection: Strain energy calculations help in selecting the appropriate materials for a given application, ensuring that the material can withstand the expected loads without exceeding its elastic limit.
 Energy Storage: Certain devices, such as springs and shock absorbers, store energy in the form of strain energy, which is then released to perform useful work.
 Failure Analysis: Strain energy calculations are used to predict the failure of materials and structures, helping in the design of safe and reliable systems.
 Finite Element Analysis: Strain energy is a key parameter in finite element analysis (FEA), which is widely used in the design and optimization of complex engineering systems.
Understanding the principles of strain energy and its calculation is crucial for engineers and scientists working in various fields, including mechanical, civil, aerospace, and materials engineering.
Conclusion
In summary, strain energy is the energy stored in a body as a result of deformation, and it can be calculated using various formulas depending on the available information. The key factors that affect strain energy include material properties, geometry, loading conditions, and the degree of deformation. Strain energy is a fundamental concept in engineering with numerous applications, from structural analysis to material selection and failure prediction. By mastering the techniques for calculating strain energy, engineers can design more efficient and reliable systems, optimizing the use of materials and ensuring the safety of structures and components.
References:
 Hibbeler, R. C. (2016). Mechanics of Materials (10th ed.). Pearson.
 Gere, J. M., & Goodno, B. J. (2018). Mechanics of Materials (9th ed.). Cengage Learning.
 Beer, F. P., Johnston, E. R., DeWolf, J. T., & Mazurek, D. F. (2020). Mechanics of Materials (8th ed.). McGrawHill Education.
 Shigley, J. E., Mischke, C. R., & Budynas, R. G. (2011). Mechanical Engineering Design (9th ed.). McGrawHill Education.
 Timoshenko, S. P., & Goodier, J. N. (1970). Theory of Elasticity (3rd ed.). McGrawHill.
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