What is Stress Concentration – Definition, Causes, effects and Prevention?

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Stress concentration is the accumulation of stress in a body due to sudden change in its geometry. When there is a sudden change in the geometry of the body due to cracks, sharp corners, holes and decrease in the cross section area, then there is an increase in the localised stress near these cracks, sharp corners, holes, and decreased cross section area. The body tends to fail from these places where the stress concentration is more. So to prevent a body from getting failed, the concentration of stress should be avoided or reduced.

It is also called as stress raisers or stress risers.

what is stress concentration


The stress concentration in a body happens because of the sudden change in the geometry of the body due to cracks, sharp corners, holes, decrease in the cross-section area. Due to these irregularities, there is an increase in the intensity of stress in the body.


When a body has stress concentration in it, the chances of its failure increases. The body tends to fail from the place where it has more concentration of stress. A body has less life that has more irregularities within it. In order to increase the life of the body, the intensity of stress should be reduced.

What is Stress concentration factor

It is defined as the ratio of highest stress in the body to the reference stress. It is denoted by Kt.


stress concentration factor

σmax = Highest stress or maximum stress
σref = Reference stress

The value of stress concentration factor for

  • A body free from irregularities is 1.
  • A body that has maximum irregularities or discontinuity is greater than 1.

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Methods to Reduce Stress Concentration

There are number of ways to reduce stress concentration in a body and some of these are

1. Avoiding sharp corners by providing a fillet radius at the sharp corners.

By providing the fillet radius at sharp corners, the cross section area decreases gradually instead of suddenly. And this distributes the stress in the body more uniformly. This is shown in the figure given below.

sharp corner

2. By providing small holes near a big hole.

If we have an object, that has an internal hole within it. Then the intensity of stress near that hole is more. To avoid this, some smaller holes are created near that hole. This distributes the stress more uniformly than it was before. This is shown in the figure given below.

small holes for stress reduction

3. By decreasing the nominal diameter of a threaded object and make it equal to the core diameter.

Suppose we have a threaded object. And the intensity of stress at threaded part is more. The chances of object may fail is more at the threaded part. This can be avoided by decreasing the nominal diameter of the shank and make it equal to the core diameter. This will distribute the stress more uniformly in the object with threads.

decreasing nominal diameter

4. By providing notches or undercut at the sharp corners.

stress concentration notches

Here we have discussed about what is stress concentration – definition, causes, effect, and methods to reduce it. If you have any query about that than feel free to ask. If you found this piece of information useful and valuable then don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to us.

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Pankaj Mishra

Pankaj Mishra is a blogger by passion and Mechanical Engineer by profession. He has completed his B.Tech degree in mechanical engineering in the year 2015. He loves to share his knowledge and help others.

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