Calculate the total stress an object is under at a given point. Enter the cross-sectional area and total force to evaluate the stress on the object.

Stress Formula

Stress can be calculated through the following formula:

 σ = F/A 
  • Where σ is stress
  • F is the total force
  • A is the total area the force is being exerted on.

To calculate the stress, divide the total force exerted by the total area.

Stress Definition

Stress is a measure of pressure that the particles and atoms within a material exert on each other when a force. This is not the same as pure pressure. Stress is also related to strain and Young’s modulus, a ratio of stress to strain in an object under a certain force denoted by this equation: E = σ/ε.

Stress and strain a linearly proportional when the under elastic behavior. When an object breaks or starts to yield, this relationship no longer holds.

The following example will outline the steps to calculate stress in a real-world problem.

How to calculate stress?

How to calculate stress

  1. First, the area the force is being exerted on must be determine

    In this step, the area that has force acting on it must be subtracted from the total area. For this example we will say that 200 square meters if being acted on by a equal force applied by pressurized air.

  2. Next, determine the total force being acted on the area.

    In this case, the force acting on the area could be calculated through the ideal gas law since the force is being applied by a pressurized air. With that said, for this example we will simply it and say that the total force acting over the area is 500 Newtons.

  3. Finally, enter the information into the stress formula

    Using the formula provided above we can calculate the stress. Stress = Force/Area = 500/200 = 2.50 N/m^2. The units of stress depend only on the force and area units, in this case newtons and meters squared which equals pascals.

  4. Analyze the results

    The last step, as with all scientific problems, is to analyze the results for accuracy and apply what’s been learned to future problems.


What is stress?

In physics stress is a measure of pressure that the particles and atoms within a material exert on each other when a force is applied to that object.