Mechanical characteristics of musculoskeletal components
All materials deform to a certain extent in response to loading; the greater the load, the greater the deformation. A material’s load-deformation relationship refl ects its mechanical characteristics. To compare the mechanical characteristics of diff erent materials, it is usual to express load and deformation in terms of stress (load per unit cross-sectional area) and strain (deformation as a proportion of the dimensions of the material when unloaded), respectively. Stress is denoted by the lower case Greek letter sigma (s), and strain is denoted by the lower case Greek letter epsilon (e). Figure 6.1 shows a generalised stress-strain curve.