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Is understanding tensors a prerequisite for understanding plastic deformation (metal forming) equations, plane stress, plane strain conditions, etc..? If so which book should I use to understand tensors?. Because on the internet people suggest that a good resource to learn tensors are the physics books that deal with relativity, etc. So I am not sure whether that perception will be suitable for studying the stress tensors.

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    $\begingroup$ When you found tensors in physics books, did you search for “tensors” or did you search for “stress tensors”? Perhaps you should look at books such as The Strength of Materials by Timishenko. $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Oct 3 '18 at 5:43
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    $\begingroup$ The answer is no, you don't have to jump into those details right now, the stress tensor is the second order tensor, we call it matrix, that 3x3 matrix is the basis block of the stress analysis, i don't recommend Timishenko unless you want do engineering in nineteen century, the basis knowledge of linear algebra is enough to start, for future, i recommend mathematical methode for physicists , Arfken, not easy book to read at the first place. $\endgroup$ – Sam Farjamirad Oct 3 '18 at 6:13
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    $\begingroup$ Timoshenko's books are much better than many modern ones. But for people who don't know how to survive without "modern technology" to play with, they don't have pretty colored diagrams, and they don't have any reference to computers since he was writing before they were commonplace. But if you want engineering insight rather than pretty pictures, they are timeless. $\endgroup$ – alephzero Oct 3 '18 at 12:06
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    $\begingroup$ "i don't recommend Timishenko unless you want do engineering in nineteen century," Hmm... he didn't graduate from university until the 20th century, and died in 1972. But anyway, there's nothing wrong with learning some 19th century (and even 18th century) engineering - don't Euler, Bernoulli, Lagrange, Cauchy, etc have any relevance any more? $\endgroup$ – alephzero Oct 3 '18 at 12:19
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    $\begingroup$ To understand tensors in the context of materials, pick up Nye's Physical Properties of Crystals, which remains the canonical guide. $\endgroup$ – Chemomechanics Oct 3 '18 at 17:45
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In a mechanical engineering curriculum at university, you would probably take a series of 3 classes. First would be called "Strengths of Materials" (or maybe "mechanics of materials"). This would be a sophomore level class. No tensors, just linear algebra (matrices). The second class would be "theory of elasticity". This is going to involve tensors. Third class will be "Continuum mechanics". This will be very heavy on tensors. After that, there would probably be a specialized class on plasticity. Depending on your comfort level with the math and your background, pick a text book on one of these subjects.

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    $\begingroup$ That may be the current fashionable way to teach the subject, but there is no logical reason why you can't understand the basics of plasticity in a practical way, in a first "strength of materials" course that doesn't use matrices or linear algebra at all. $\endgroup$ – alephzero Oct 3 '18 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ I approve the order in this answer, it gives you insight. Picking up a single book and read it cover to cover doesn't help you a lot in my experience, but combining this subjects over time helps you a lot. $\endgroup$ – Sam Farjamirad Oct 3 '18 at 15:02

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