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In physics, Hooke's law of elasticity states that if a force (F) is applied to an elastic spring or prismatic rod (with length L and cross section A), its extension is linearly proportional to its tensile stress σ and modulus of elasticity (E):
- ΔL = 1/E × F × L/A = 1/E × L × σ
The law holds up to a limit, called the elastic limit, or limit of elasticity, after which the metal will enter a condition of 'yield' and the spring will suffer plastic deformation up to the plastic limit or limit of plasticity, after which it will eventually break if the force is further increased (see tensile strength).
Applications of the law include spring operated weighing machines. Originally the law applied only to stretched springs, but subject to physical constraints it also applies to compression springs.
The most commonly encountered form of Hooke's law is probably the spring equation, which relates the force exerted by a spring to the distance it is stretched by , where k is the "spring constant" and x is the displacement from equilibrium.
The maximum potential energy associated to this force is therefore .
Generalized Hooke's law
When working a with three-dimensional stress state, a 4th order tensor (Cijkl) containing 81 elastic coefficients must be defined to link the stress tensor (σij) and the strain tensor (or Green tensor) (εkl).
Actually, due to the symmetry of the stress and strain tensor, only 36 elastic coefficients are independent.
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