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As both the applied force and displacement are vectors (respectively P and δ), in general their relationship is characterised by a stiffness matrix, k where:
- P = k δ.
The displacement can, in general, refer to a point distinct from that where the force is applied and a complicated structure will not deflect purely in the same direction as an applied force. The stiffness matrix enables such systems to be characterised in straightforward terms.
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