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Int. J. Care Injured

3 1 (2000) S-B 14-S-B23

Stiffness - an unknown world of mechanical science?

F. Baumgart
A0 Technical Commission,


CH-7270 Davos Platz

Stiffness is a term used to describe the force needed
to achieve a certain deformation of a structure. In the
world, several different definitions of
stiffness are used, but not all of them are explained adequately to those readers who are less familiar with biomechanical terminology
This paper gives examples for specific definitions
which are based on the basic definition of stiffness of a
loaded structure
Stiffness = Load divided by Deformation,
a definition which automatically includes that the
Deformation is created by the Load addressed in
the formula.
There is an infinite number of possible configurations
of Load (forces, moments, stresses, arbitrary groups
of forces etc.) acting on a structure and there is also an
infinite number of possible points in the structure,
where the deformation (displacement, strain, angles,
radii, curvature, etc.) can be measured. Therefore, the
term StiffMess of a structurealways requires an exact
description of the load configuration and the exact localization and kind of deformation measured. Otherwise, the measured or calculated values cannot be compared with
results from other authors.
An external fixator reacts to different functional forces
(axial force, bending moment, torque) with different

deformations (axial displacement, several angles, strain

etc.). Depending on the selection of the deformations,
several stiffness values can be determined. A definition
of stiffness as a constant property of a structure only
makes sense for structures consisting entirely of linear
elastic materials. This paper supports the understanding of different stiffness definitions in the literature and
provides a simple rule for the control of the stiffness
definition applied.
torsional stiffness, bending
material stiffness, structural stiffness, stiffness matrix,
load configuration
Injury 2000, Vol. 31, Suppl. 2

For the explanation of a well known mechanical phenomenon such as stiffness some preliminary definitions are needed.
If a mechanical
mation occurs.


loaded, a defor-

Here we investigate the phenomenon as seen in a

mechanical structure made from an elastic material. In
the case of non-elastic materials, the definition of stiffness becomes very difficult and unusual.
We understand

1 Abstracts in German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and

Russian are printed at the end of this supplement.
2 Stress is defined as force divided by the area on which the
force acts.


the terms in this paper as follows:

A structure can be a rod, a spring, a plate, a shell or a
similar geometrical body consisting of a solid material.

0020-I 383/00/$ - see front matter 0 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved

Baumgart: Stifiess


in mechanical science


Basic Examples

A load can be a force, a moment, a stress2 or a combination of some of these physical variables acting on the

The following examples of the different definitions of

stiffness in common use (Figs 1-12) are explained in the
text under the figures.

Deformation means that the actual geometrical configuration of the elastic structure is different from the original
unloaded reference configuration. A deformation is
always a comparison of two different configurations of
a structure. The measure of a deformation can be a
strains, a displacement, an angle or a modification of
these variables. The term configuration
means that
each material particle of the body or structure can be
defined by a unique set of coordinates in space (e.g. x,y,z
or similar).

elastic material

Elasticity is a material property which means that a

deformed elastic material springs back into its original
configuration when the load is removed.
Another definition (which is equivalent to this) means
that the internal stress in an elastic material depends
only on the strain but not on other deformational variables like strain rate, frequency, or time.

Fig. 1: A rod of the length 4 the cross-sectional area A, and the

modulus of elasticity E is loaded axially by a force F, the load.
The relative axial displacement u of the two ends of the rod is
the deformation. In this case, the Longitudinal Stiffness is
defined as
and the basic relation is


ax U

After clarification of the above-mentioned
the stifiess ofa structure can be defined as

Stiffness =



From this definition the following becomes clear:

For an elastic body, the stiffness of a structure is a time
independent value, in other words, the load and deformation of the structure have identical time dependency.
Stiffness is not a fixed measure of a structure but is
dependent on position and kind of Zoad and on location
and kind of deformation.

Several definitions of StiffMess exist.

most common definition of strain (the so-called
engineering strain) is the difference between the length of a
material line in the deformed configuration and the original
length in the undeformed configuration, divided by the
original length. In other words: The increase in length

divided by the original length. There are other definitions

in use too, but these are rarely used in the literature.

Injury 2000, Vol. 31, Suppl. 2

Fig. 2: Tension and compression are two states of the same load
configuration. A force acts on a rod coaxial with the axis of the
rod. If the vector arrow of the force at the end of the rod points
away from the end surface it is called tension, if the arrow
points against the end surface it is called compression.
The left part of Fig. 2 shows a rod under compression. The
force F (load) causes a displacement II (deformation) in the
same direction as the load acts.
We can use this as a model for the investigation of the tibia
under axial load. We apparently have the same situation as in
the rod on the left side. This is true if we just ask for the stiffness of the system. We can define a stiffness constant S, as the
result of the quotient load /deformation, possibly received from

test results. This is possible and permissible. However, calculation of this stiffness must allow for the fact that the crosssection of the tibia is not constant along the axis and the modulus of elasticity also varies in the whole material volume of
the bone. Anatomical variations in these properties will influence the stiffness of the system.
We additionally neglect the viscoelastic properties of the bone,
this means that forces may not only depend on the deformation, but also on the speed of its application. Published test
results have shown that this effect in the domain of functional
loading variation is small and can be neglected with sufficient
Fig. 3: An elastic spring, here shown as a helical spring, is the

force (load) F in a mechanical test is the sum of the local displacement differences in the vertebrae and in the intervertebral discs.
All the biological parts of the spine are heterogeneous, have
complex shapes, and show more or less anisotropic behaviour.
Despite these complex structures a spring constant c can be
determined by mechanical testing which allows for the determination of axial deformation caused by axial forces, or for
the estimation of the axial forces created by a certain applied
axial displacement. The spring constant describes the stiffness
of the spine model against axial forces.
It goes without saying that the necessarv assumntion is as
alwavs nure elastic behaviour of all Darts of the structure!
Tests at different loading speeds may be needed in order to
gather information on the magnitude of hidden viscoelastic
effects. This allows an assessment on the accuracy of the
assumption of a linear elastic material. This does not mean
that all parts of the biological structure must have the same
modulus of elasticity.
It is also clear that the instability of the spine under compression must be excluded.

most common representation of the mechanical term stiffmss. The basic relation between the spring force F and the
spring elongation x is

F = cx
where the spring constant c represents the spring stiffness
which can be determined according to our fundamental definition as
c =-



Fig. 4: A spring model (left) of axial loading in part of the

Fig. 5: Material stiffness4 is defined by a linear relationship

between the normal stress o acting on the surface of a particle and the strain E measured in the same direction as the stress
acts. Normally, these variables are determined by a uniaxial
tensile or compresssion test.
The sti@ess

of the material is then defined by the relationE ~2

where the Modulus of elasticity E (YOUNGS modulus) functions as the Material stiffness. This law is well known as
HOOKES law of elasticity.

human spine (right) is an extreme simplification of the complex real situation in the biomechanical structure of the spine.
The axial displacement (deformation) x caused by the axial

4 of a homogeneous

and isotropic material.




in mechanical science

This definition has the advantage that the length f of the beam
in a pure bending mode does not show up, because it is super-

Uaiform saws in the apancumris m. bicipitia

bra&ii (t&m. appmximatcly)


Fig. 6: Anexample of (approximately) pure tension is the stress

transmitted by a tendon to the bone. The tendon axis defines
the direction of the axial force. This force divided by the crosssectional area of the tendon results in almost uniformly distributed axial stress cs (load), and uniform strain E (deformation) of the tendon tissue. The factor of proportionality
between the force and the displacement of the elastic tendon
material is the modulus of Elasticity E , the material stiffness

,R /

deformed configuration

Fig. 7: A straight beam is loaded by a pure bending moment

response is the radius R. The common definition of the beam stiffness uses the reciprocal value
of R,

M and the deformational

Fig. 8:

deformed contiguratm

Sometimes another definition can be found in the lit-




angle a

Bending stiffness

-E J

It is obvious that the definition of the angle a as the deformation introduces the length 1 of the beam into the stiffness definition which has to be compensated by multiplying the curvature by the length f
Seemingly the length f has an influence on the intrinsic beam
stiffness, but in reality it has not. A person bending a longer
and a shorter, but sufficiently long rod by hand to the same
radius R needs the same bending moment for both tests and
he will not feel a difference.
This definition has been introduced in civil engineering to
facilitate the analysis of structures such as frames and trusses
consisting of beams of certain lengths. It has specific advantages if the bending moment is not constant over the length of
the beam. In such cases, the deformed centre line of the beam
is not a circle.

the Curvature K = F
as the deformation


twist angle

The basic relationship of the beam theory for bending, which

is the most important law used in civil engineering in the
analysis for all houses, bridges etc., can be formulated as

M = EJK = EJ f
introducing the Bending stifiess


This value can easily be determined by a four point bending

test, measuring the radius R of the deformed beam.

Injury 2000, Vol. 31, Suppl. 2

Deformation: Twist:


D = $1

Fig. 9: The definition of stiffness for a rod under pure torsional

load by a torque Mt is completely analogue to the definition

of stiffness for pure bending. The basic equation
load/deformation relationship is here

for the

M, = GJf D = GJt 3

early on the shear strain y. The material constant is the Shear

Modulus G (Material shear stiffness).
The material equation reads


where M, is the Torque (load) and D = ;

is the Twist or torsional angle per unit length (deformation).
The angle 0 is the torsional angle, that means it is the relative
rotation of the two end faces of the rod.
Following this we have for the torsional stijfness
G is the shear modulus of the elastic material.
Jt is the torsional moment of inertia of the cross-sectional area
of the rod. It depends on the shape and main dimensions of
the cross-section. For circular cross-sections, it is identical with
the polar moment of inertia, which is twice the value of the
moment of inertia ] of a circular cross-section [l].
We see here that this measure of stiffness is independent of the
length of the rod. It depends only on the shear modulus (material property) and on the torsional moment of inertia.

twist angle

Twist angle: Cl

Fig. 10: If we use the torsional angle 8 itself as the deformation variable, the definition of torsional stiffness changes to

s,, = y
In this case, the basic relation for rods under torque load reads





stress T

Fig. 12: An example of shear loading is the transmission of

A-P forces through the human spine of a standing individual.
The intervertebral discs are the less stiff parts in the chain of
the human vertebrae, they show the greatest local deformation.
In this specific case of loading, the A-P force T results in the
distributed shear stress z (load) over the end surface of the
disc. This causes tilting of all vertical material fibres in the
disc, it can be described by an angulation y , the shear strain
(deformation). The factor of proportionality between the two
variables is the shear modulus G of the disc material, the material stiffness against shear stresses.
It has to be commented on here that the true shear strain is the
trigonometric sinus of the angle between two originally perpendicular material lines. But in the case of real structural
materials (for instance, cortex), the angular changes under
functional loading below the failure levels are very small.
Therefore, the trigonometric sinus and also tangents can be
approximately replaced by the angle itself. This is a common
assumption in engineering calculations on real structures and
the results show an embarrassing accuracy.

undeformed stage





Fig. 11: Hookes law for a material particle under pure she?r
stress z is an example of another basic linear constitutive material equation (see also Fig. 5). The shear stress z depends lin-

These definitions provide only an incomplete overview.

It is obvious that there are some which are not unique
(bending stiffness, torsional stiffness). They depend on
the definition of the load configuration
and on the
selected deformation. Furthermore, in most cases the
direction of the deformation used is identical to the
direction of the load used. The following chapter
deals with different directions and the more common
of stiffness used in todays structural
analysis methods (Finite Element Method, FEM).
It is also possible to use a load configuration consisting of more than one force (e.g. two parallel forces or
other combinations
of forces and moments). Then
load means a scale factor to this unit configuration.



Stiffness in mechanical science


The material of the structure is still assumed to be linearly elastic.

This means the stress in the structure depends linearly
on the strain. Also all possible deformations depend
then linearly on the load as long as they are small
in comparison to characteristic dimensions of the structure or to the dimensionless unit 1.
Therefore, the stifness values defined above are
always constant and independent of load or deformational variables, and as mentioned before independent
of the time.
The linear relationship between load and deformation is valid as long as the load configuration remains
unchanged by the deformation (Example: In the case of
HERTZ contact problems between two elastic bodies,
the size of the contact area changes due to elastic deformation. This leads to a nonlinear relationship between
load and deformation despite the fact that the material
is linearly elastic! ).
Additionally, we call the behaviour of a material particle isotropic if the deformational response of the particle to a stress is the same in all directions.

Comment: This definition is not sufficient in general
because a material can be found to be isotropic by this
test, but it is only isotropic with reference to the axis of
this cylinder, but not with reference to other differently
oriented axes. We call this property transversally
isotropic with respect to the axis of the cylinder. But for
a first explanation of the anisotropic effect, this example may be useful and impressive.

Example: A circular sheet of metal is loaded by a normal

stress parallel to the axis of the cylinder, that means pure
We can measure the radial expansion (displacement)
of the cylindrical sheet on two arbitrary, different points
of the circumference. If these two values are always the
same, we call the behaviour of the material isotropic, if
they are different we call it anisotropic (Fig. 13).

identical loading by normal stress

Anisotropic material
Deformation behavior is different!

Fig. 13: Isotropic and anisotropic behaviour of materials.

Injury 2000, Vol. 31, Suppl. 2

Fig. 14: In order to visualize the terms stress, strain and

anisotropy applied to biomechanical problems, we must
look into the details of the diaphysis of a tibia1 bone A). It is
well known that the cortex has an orientation in its structure:
Haversian canals helically covered by collagen-hydroxyapatite microstructures are oriented in a longitudinal direction, other structures show a circumferential orientation, and
finally the radial direction is different from the other two.
Without better knowledge, we may assume that these three
local axes are the main axes of the anisotropy of the bone. This
means: Oriented physical properties measured in these three
directions would show three different values.
If we cut a prismatic longitudinal piece of bone out of the tibia
B), we have a piece of a truly so-called orthotropic material in
front of us. If we cut this to an appropriate length C), comparable with the other two dimensions of the prismatic bar, we
have found a representative piece of bone showing locally
anisotropic behaviour.
We can assume that this piece represents the basic local structure of the bone. The whole bone can be puzzled together from
such pieces. One piece may show different properties compared to others, but the general structure remains the same for
all pieces. Only the values of their typical physical properties
change from piece to piece.
We will now use this typical piece C) to demonstrate the
mechanical terminology of the local stiffness properties. The
local stiffness parameters determine the overall stiffness constants of a structure, even a biological one.

Example: A quadratic disc of fibre reinforced material
with fibre orientation in the x-direction is loaded perpendicular to the sheet plane (z direction) by a force F.
Then the sheet shows different displacements u, und uY
in the x and y directions. Its behaviour is anisotropic. In
this special case the material is called orthotropic, which
is an abbreviation of the term orthogonal anisotropic
(Fig. 15).



-v = Qx

6 independent stress components

Fig. 16: Stress state on a rectangular particle.

Fig. 15: Stiffness coefficients.

If we use the displacement u, for the definition of stiffness, we get a certain value of stiffness. If we use uY for
the definition of stiffness, the value is different. Therefore, we have to distinguish two different coeficients of stifi
If we refer to an anisotropic (but elastic) material, the
definition of stiffness in the above-mentioned sense still
holds but becomes more common and difficult because
we also have to take into consideration the orientation
of the material axes relative to the load configuration that
means load axes. We need stiffness coeficients (not only
one modulus of elasticity) to distinguish the material
axes orientation relative to the load configuration.
In the case of forces and moments acting on structures
or bars (trusses, frameworks), this new aspect causes no
differences in general.

The stiffness matrix

The most common case of load acting on a particle of
a material is the stress state. In general, the three-dimensional stress state consists of 6 different components of stress:
- three normal stress components acting perpendicular to
three different planes. The normal stress always acts
parallel to that coordinate axis which is perpendicular to the reference plane and
- three shear stress components acting in three different
In each plane two shear stress components act parallel to the two in-plane coordinate axes (Fig. 16).

\r Normal

stress CJ

Shear stress T

Fig. 17: Our typical example of a bone piece can be shown by

orientation. The axes x,y,z are chosen parallel to the main
orthotropic axes of the bone as described above.
The physical loading of such a piece, cut (in imagination) from
a real bone, is performed by the stress components acting on
the surfaces of the piece.
There are only two different types of stress:
The normal stress o (red) always and only acts pernendicular
to the addressed surface.
The shear stress r (pink) always and only acts b the addressed
surface. Due to the fact that a surface is a 2-D geometrical
object, a shear stress acting in a plane always has two different components, as shown in the picture.
The model has six plane surfaces. Three stress components act
on each surface. Normally, we would assume that there are 18
independent stress components. However, due to the balance
equations for the forces (equilibrium conditions), the three
stress components on opposite surfaces must be identical.
We now only have 9 remaining different components. But due
to the balance equations for the moments, we can conclude
that the shear stresses acting on two orthogonal surfaces but
in the same plane must be the same: e.g. ZZY= ZYZ This prevents rotation of the piece in the three possible planes.
We conclude: The whole stress state around our representative piece of bone is determined by 6 independent stress components: 3 normal stresses and 3 shear stresses.



Stiffness in mechanical science

The use of strain components is the most common

description of local deformation. A
complete analogy to the stress state exists:
There are
-- three direct strain components, which describe the relative elongation of a particle in the directions of the
three axes of the coordinate system and
- three shear strain components, which each describe the
change of the angles between two edges of the particle. In the unloaded state, the two edges are perpendicular if we refer to the standard description (Fig. 18).

Example: The elongation in the z direction is obviously L - c

The original length is .!. The axial strain in the z-direction is


this means: Change of length divided by original length.

The other component &ycan be determined by analogue calculation using the lengths in the y-direction. The third axial
strain &xmust be found analogue, measuring the lengths in xdirection in the x-z-plane or in the x-y-plane.
Obviously the strain is a dimensionless geometrical object!

3 axial strain
3 shear strain





Fig. 18: Strain states of a rectangular particle.

Shear strain

In general, each stress component acting on a particle can cause any of the strain components. That means
6 * 6 = 36 different stifiess coefficients exist.



Fig. 20: Many individuals have difficulty in imagining a shear

deformation. A shear deformation is very easy to understand.
It is the change of the angle between two material lines, which
were originally perpendicular to each other.
It is evident that we can observe only one of these deformations in each plane.
Part A) again shows the y-z-plane. The total angular deformation in this plane has two parts (a and p). If we turn the
green deformed figure around the point of the angle and bring
one branch into coincidence with the direction of the original
configuration (black line), part B), then the sums of the two
angles become visible and the shear strain yvzis determined.

To achieve a most effective and clear mathematical

description matrix calculus is used.

Fig. 19: This picture shows pure axial strain (tensional strain
[extension] or compression strain [shrinkage]).
We see the unloaded original configuration and the green
deformed configuration of our bone piece. Only the two strain
components in the y-z-plane (perpendicular to the x-axis) have
been drawn.

Inju y 2000, Vol. 32, Suppl. 2

This means we arrange all 6 stress components

linear stress vector s

to a

and the 6 strain components
tor e

to a linear strain vec-

r &XX




The relationship between the two vectors for a linear

elastic and generally anisotropic material is then
s = Ce

C is a 6*6 matrix.

It is called

a Material



A unidirectional fibre-reinforced
material is called
transversaZZy anisotropic. It has 4 independent stiffness
coefficients. It has one axis with rotational symmetry.
Our definition of stiffness as the relation between
load and deformation
still holds for this matrix
expression. (This means load is stiffness times
However, an explicit expression for the stiffness
matrix is not available for mathematical reasons (There
is no simple calculus for division of matrices).
Theoretically, the stiffness components can be determined by 6 independent tests where always all stress
components are set to zero except one. All 6 strain components can then be measured in each test. From these
36 equations for the 36 stiffness coefficients are available, which is sufficient. (In practice only 21 coefficients
are really independent
in the case of a generally
anisotropic body.)
For materials with special symmetry as mentioned
above, less tests are necessary depending on the number of independent coefficients.

Plastic material behaviour

The relationship
(2) represents
between the 6 stress components

the 6 equations
and the 6 strain

In the case of an isotropic material, it contains only

two independent components, the modulus of elasticity E and the shear modulus G (2).
The POISSON number v depends on these two

If we increase the stress beyond a certain limit (the yield

strength), the material becomes irreversibly changed in
structure, i. e., after removal of the load the deformation
does not go back to zero, but a so-called plastic deformation will remain (Fig. 21).


loading-unloading cycle of21material



_O 0 0





G = 2(l+v)


In the case of an orthotropic material (e.g. a fibre-reinforced material where fibres are oriented in three
orthogonal directions), there are 6 independent stiffness
coefficients. There are three axes of bilateral symmetry.

plastic strain

elastic slrain

Fig. 21: Elastic - plastic material behaviour.

This means the relationship between stress and strain

is non-linear and the definition of stiffness leads to a variable value of stiffness which depends on the defor5 The matrix multiplication on the right side of the equation
follows the rule that one selected row of the matrix C is
multiplied by the vector e in such a way that the first element
of the row is multiplied by the first element of the vector, the
second element of the row is multiplied by the second
element of the vector and so on. Ail 6 results will then be
summed up and deliver that element in the s vector which
is located at the position of the selected matrix row.

Baumgart: Stifiess

in mechanical science

mation. Therefore, it is in general not reasonable to use

the definition stiffness in the plastic range of a material.
This also means:
If a non-linear behaviour between load and deformation can be observed in stiffness tests, parts of the
structure become plastically deformed. Then the definition of stiffness has to be discussed. Normally the initial elastic range of the structure in the case of low load
levels can be used to define the stiffness.

The science of stiffness obviously becomes quite
difficult if a general view is requested.
But if the definition is consistently applied, difficulties in
understanding should not occur. A clear description of the
kind and configuration of the load and deformation is always
In most cases of use of the term stifiess,
we should be
aware that only a special stiffness coefficient is addressed.

1. ROARKs Formulas for Stress and Strain, 6th Ed., New
York: Warren C.Young, McGraw-Hill International, 1989.

injury 2000, Vol. 31, Suppl. 2


Injury, Int. J. Care Injured 3 I (2000) S-B72-S-B96


Experimentelle Biomechanik:
Mechanik des Materials

Einleitung: Grundlegende
nitionen der Mechanik

A theory is something that nobody believes,

except its author.
An experiment is something that eveybody believes,
except its author.
(Der National Academy of Sciences,
DC zugeschrieben)

Teil II

Konzepte und Defi-

J. Cordey, Dipl. Phys., Dr. SC.

A0 Forschungsinstitut,
CH-7270 Davos Platz

chanik werden mehrere unterschiedliche

von Steifigkeit verwendet, aber nicht alle liefern angemessene Erkltirungen fiir einen mit der biomechanischen Terminologie nicht allzu vertrauten Leser.
Dieser Artikel stellt Beispiele fiir spezifische Definitionen vor, die sich auf die Basisdefinition der Steifigkeit einer belasteten Struktur griinden:

Diese Einleitung zielt darauf ab, Klinikern die grundlegenden Begriffe der Mechanik von Materialien nahezubringen. Was geschieht, wenn ein Knochen (vom
Mechanischen her gesehen ein Tr;iger) normalen Belastungen ausgesetzt ist: Zentrische Axiallast, Biegung,
exzentrische Axiallast, Drehmoment? Wie verformt sich
der Knochen? Die grundlegenden Begriffe der Mechanik werden unter Verwendung eines Radiergummis
unter Last als Anschauungsobjekt
prgsentiert, wobei
versucht wird, die mathematischen Formeln so weit wie
m6glich beizubehalten.

= (<Last), geteilt durch c<Verformung)).

Diese Definition beinhaltet automatisch,

dass die
(<Verformung), durch die in der Formel genannte crLastj>
verursacht wird.

&teifigkeit>> ist ein Begriff, der zur Beschreibung der

notwendigen Kraft verwendet wird, urn eine bestimmte
Verformung einer Struktur zu erreichen. In der Biome-

Es gibt unendlich viele Konfigurationsm6glichkeiten

fiir eine auf eine Struktur einwirkende c(Last), (Kr;ifte,
Momente, Spannungen, beliebige Krgftegruppen usw.),
und es gibt ebenfalls unendlich viele Punkte an der
Struktur, an denen die Verformung (Verschiebung, Dehnung, Winkel, Radien, Biegung usw.) gemessen werden
kann. Daher erfordert der Terminus &teifigkeib) einer
Struktur immer eine exakte Beschreibung der Lastkonfiguration sowie die exakte Lokalisierung und Art der
gemessenen Verformung. Sonst kijnnen die gemessenen oder errechneten Werte nicht mit den Ergebnissen
anderer Autoren verglichen werden.
Ein Fixateur externe reagiert auf unterschiedliche funktionelle Kr;ifte (Axialkraft, Biegemoment, Drehmoment)
mit unterschiedlichen
Verformungen (axiale Verschiebung, verschiedene Winkel, Dehnung usw.). In Abhgngigkeit von der Auswahl der Verformungen kiinnen v61lig verschiedene Steifigkeitswerte ermittelt werden.
Eine Definition der Steifigkeit als konstante Eigenschaft einer Struktur ist nur fiir solche Strukturen sinn~011, die ganz aus linear-elastischem
Material bestehen.
Dieser Artikel illustriert die Interpretation von verschiedenen speziellen Steifigkeitsdefinitionen
in der
Literatur und verwendet eine einfache Regel zur Kontrolle der angewendeten Steifigkeitsdefinition.

1 ijbersetzung ins Deutsche: Petra Schwab-Telleria,

Pamplona, Spanien

SchliisselwBrter: Torsionssteifigkeit,
strukturelle Steifigkeit, Steifigkeitsmatrix, Lastkonfiguration

Stress, Dehnung, lineare Biegungstheorie

Steifigkeit - eine unbekannte

der Mechanik?
F. Baumgart
A0 Technische Kommission,
CH-7270 Davos Platz


Welt innerhalb



OOZO-1383/00/$ - see front matter 0 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.


Une theorie est une chose b laquelle

La biomkcanique

expkrimentale: Deuxi&me partie

article presente des exemples de definitions spkifiques

issues de la dkfinition de base de la raideur dune structure mise en charge:

Introduction P la mhcanique:
Concepts de base et definitions
J. Cordey, Dr SC Phys
Institut de recherche AO, Clavadelerstrasse,
CH-7270 Davos Platz
Cet expose des concepts de base de la mkanique
materiaux est une introduction pratique pour cliniciens.
Que se passe-t-i1 lorsquun OS (en mkcanique une
poutre) est soumis B des charges standard: charge axiale
centree, flexion, charge axiale excentrke, torsion? Comment un OS se dkforme-t-il? Les idles de base du genie
mkanique sont illustrt+es B partir dune gomme que lon
soumet B une charge en maintenant autant que possible
les formules mathkmatiques.
Mots cl& mkcanique, OS, matkriaux,
theorie de la flexion linbaire

personne ne croif sauf Ihufeur.

Une expt?ience est une chose b laquelle
tout le monde croit sauf lauteur.
(Attribube ?I 1AcadCmie nationale
des sciences, Washington

stress, tension,

La raideur: un monde mCconnu de la science

F. Baumgart
Commission technique AO, Clavadelerstrasse,
CH-7270 Davos Platz

La ccraideur,) correspond &la force necessaire B la defermation dune structure. Si, en biomkanique,
dkfinitions sont utilikes pour dkcrire la raideur, toutes
ne sont pas toujours clairement expliquees, surtout pour
des lecteurs peu familiers des termes spkcialisks. Cet

2 Traiduit de langlais par G. G. Pope, Rennes, France

(<Raideur,j = <Charge>) / ~<Dkformatiorw,

oh la c<Dkformatiorw est la conskquence

de la (Charge,).

11 existe un nombre illimite de configurations possibles de la <Charge>> (forces, moments, tensions,

groupes arbitraires de force, etc.) agissant sur une structure et egalement un nombre illimitk de points de la
structure oh lon peut mesurer la dkformation (dkplacement, fatigue, angles, rayons, courbure, etc.). En
con&quence, appliquk ?I une structure, le terme c<Raideur,, doit toujours correspondre a une description
exacte de la configuration de charge et prkciser la localisation et le type de deformation. Sans cette prkcision,
les valeurs mesurt?es ou calculkes par diffkrents auteurs
ne sont pas cornparables.
Un fixateur externe rkagit aux diffkrentes forces fonctionnelles (force axiale, moment de flexion, moment de
torsion) en imposant differentes d&formations (dkplacement axial, plusieurs angles, fatigue, etc). En fonction
des deformations choisies, onpeut dkterminer plusieurs
valeurs de raideur.
En tant que propri&! dune structure, une definition
de raideur na de sens que pour les structures entikement formkes de materiaux B elasticit linkaire.
Cet article est une aide B la comp&hension des diffkrentes dkfinitions de raideur presentes dans la lit&ature et propose une regle simple pour valider la dkfinition de raideur utilisee.
Mots cl&: raideur, torsion, flexion, raideur des materiaux, raideur structurale, matrice de raideur, configuration de charge


Biomeccanica sperimentale:
Meccanica dei material3

Concetti di base e definizioni

Una teoria 12qualcosa in cui nessuno crede,

eccetto il suo autore.
Un esperimento k qualcosa in cui tutti credono,
eccetto il suo autore.

Parte II

(Attribuito allAccademia Nazionale

delle Scienze, Washington, D.C.)

nella meccanica

J. Cordey, Fisico
A0 Research Institute, Clavadelerstr.,
CH-7270 Davos Platz

suna di esse 6 spiegata adeguatamente a quei lettori the

non hanno troppa familiarit& con la terminologia biomeccanica.
Quest0 lavoro fornisce degli esempi di definizioni
specifiche basate sulla definizione di base della rigidezza di una struttura sottoposta a un carico.

ha lo scope di esporre ai medici le
idee di base della meccanica dei materiali. Che cosa succede quando un osso (da1 punto di vista meccanico una
trave) viene sottoposto a carichi standard: carico assiale
centrico, eccentrico, torsione? Come si deforma losso?
Vengono presentate le idee di base dellingegneria meccanica usando una gomma sotto carico come esempio
illustrativo, cercando di ricorrere quanto meno possibile alle formule matematiche.

= cCarico,> diviso per c<Deformazione)),

una definizione the presuppone automaticamente

the la c<Deformazione>) 6 creata da1 Xarico,) indicate
nella formula.

&igidezza,> 12un termine usato per descrivere la forza

necessaria ad ottenere una certa deformazione di una
struttura. Nel mondo della biomeccanica,
usate parecchie definizioni diverse di rigidezza, manes-

CG un numero infinito di possibili configurazioni di

Karico>> (forze, momenti, sforzi, gruppi arbitrari di
forze, etc.) the agiscono su una struttura e ci! anche un
numero infinito di possibili punti nella struttura, in cui
pui, essere misurata la deformazione
estensione, angoli, raggi, curvatura, etc.). Pertanto il termine CXigidezzax, di una struttura richiede sempre unesatta descrizione della configurazione de1 carico e lesatta localizzazione e lesatta indicazione de1 tipo di
deformazione misurato. Altrimenti, i valori misurati o
calcolati non possono essere paragonati con i risultati di
altri autori.
Un fissatore esterno reagisce a forze funzionali
diverse (forza assiale, moment0 flettente, torsione) con
deformazioni diverse (spostamento assiale, vari angoli,
estensione, etc.). A seconda della scelta della deformazioni, possono essere determinati parecchi valori di rigidezza.
Una definizione di rigidezza come proprieth costante
di una struttura P sensata solo per le strutture the consistono interamente di materiali elastici lineari.
Quest0 lavoro ha lo scope di cercare di far comprendere le diverse definizioni di rigidezza nella letteratura
scientifica e fornisce una regola semplice per il control10
della definizione di rigidezza applicata.

Traduzione italiana a cura di Antonio Pace, Milano, Italia

Parole chiave: rigidezza alla torsione, rigidezza alla

flessione, rigidezza de1 materiale, rigidezza strutturale,
matrice di rigidezza, configurazione de1 carico.

Parole chiave: meccanica, osso, materiali,

deformazione, teoria della flessione lineare

Rigidezza - un mondo sconosciuto

scienza meccanica?
F. Baumgart
A0 Technical Commission,
CH-7270 Davos Platz






Mechica de materialesg

Conceptos bhicos

y definiciones

Urn teoria es nlgo en lo que nadie tree,

salvo su nutor.
Un experimento es algo en 20 que todo el mundo tree,
salvo su a&or.

Parte II

de mechica.

J. Cordey, Dipl. Fisica, Dr. en Ciencias

Instituto de Investigation de AO, Clavadelerstr.,
CH-7270 Davos Platz

(Atribuido a la Academia National

de Ciencias, Washington DC)

varias definiciones distintas de rigidez, pero no todas

ellas se han explicado adecuadamente
a 10s lectores
menos familiarizados con la terminologia biomecdnica.
En este trabajo se ofrece una serie de ejemplos para
definiciones concretas que estan basados en la definicion basica de rigidez de una estructura bajo carga.

Esta introduccibn pretende explicar 10s conceptos basicos de la mecanica de materiales a 10s medicos. iQu6
Swede cuando un hueso (desde el punto de vista
mecanico, una viga) es sometido a cargas estandar:
carga axial centrica, flexion, carga axial excentrica,
moment0 de torsion? iCorn se deforma el hueso? Los
conceptos bdsicos de la ingenieria me&mica son presentados utilizando una goma bajo carga coma objet0
ilustrativo, intentando recurrir lo menos posible a las
formulas matembticas.

= Kargax> dividida por c~Deformaciom~,

una definicibn de la que automaticamente se deduce

que la c~Deformaci6r-w es creada por la Karga a la que
hate referencia la formula.

El termino ccrigidez,, se emplea para describir la fuerza

necesaria para conseguir una determinada deformation
de una estructura. En el mundo biomecanico se utilizan

Existe unnumero infinito de posibles configuraciones

de (Carga (fuerzas, momentos, esfuerzos, grupos arbitrarios de fuerzas, etc.) que pueden actuar sobre una
estructura y, ademas, existe un numero infinito de posibles puntos de la estructura en 10s que la deformation
alargamiento, bngulos, radios, curvatura, etc.) puede ser medida. Por lo tanto, el termino
ccrigidez de una estructura siempre requiere la descripcibn exacta de la configuration de fuerzas y la exacta
localization y tipo de la deformation medida. Si no se
hate asi, 10s valores medidos o calculados no podran ser
comparados con 10s de otros autores.
Un fijador externo frente a una serie de fuerzas funcionales distintas
(fuerza axial, moment0
moment0 de torsion) reacciona con diferentes tipos de
deformacibn (desplazamiento axial, distintos angulos,
alargamiento, etc.). Dependiendo de la deformacibn,
pueden determinarse varios valores de rigidez.
Dar una definition de rigidez coma propiedad constante de una estructura solo tiene sentido en el case de
estructuras constituidas en su totalidad por materiales
linealmente elasticos.
Este trabajo aporta datos para la comprension de distintas definiciones de rigidez que existen en la literatura
y ofrece una regla sencilla para controlar la definicidn
de rigidez aplicada.

4 Traducci6n al espafiol realizada

Ziirich, Suiza, Pace RiquC

Palabras clave: rigidez torsional, resistencia a la flexion, rigidez de1 material, rigidez estructural, matriz de
rigidez, configuration de cargas

Palabras clave: mecanica, hueso, materiales, esfuerzo,

deformation, teoria de la flexion lineal

La rigidez: jun mundo desconocido

dentro de la mechnica?
F. Baumgart
Comision Tecnica de AO, Clavadelerstrasse,
CH-7270 Davos Platz


por ijbersetzergruppe