What forces of torsion, compressive stress, and tensile stress are exerted by cutlery on a cylindrical utensil holder?

Also lets suppose that the holder is tightly packed. Is there a maximal tensile strength it can withstand?

I really don't know how to approach this question quantitativly....

  • $\begingroup$ This sub seems like a better home for this question. I am moving my answer from Physics here too. $\endgroup$ May 13, 2020 at 19:22

1 Answer 1


You need some general simplifications first. Each contact exerts a point force radially out somewhere along a thin walled and perfectly cylindrical container. Think of stretching a ring by pulling on it.

  • Can you establish the force deflection relationships using Castigliano's energy theorem for structures.

  • Then you try to find the forces needed in order to match the deformation produced by the packed cutlery.

  • You take the force applied and try to estimate the stresses produced. This is a combination of "simple" bending as a result of the change in curvature of the shape and more importantly hoop stresses (also called barrel stresses) that are trying to hold the container together. You also have contact stresses, but you ignore these because they are infinite for point loads and it will really mess you up. You decide is going to break by stretching and not ripping in this step.

  • Next you take all the stress components and combine them into one equivalent stress using the energy distortion theory (von Mises).

  • Finally you take the maximum stress from the step above and compare it published tables of material properties to see if it exceeds some kind of strength value. You might want to limit stress under ultimate strength, fracture strength, or yield strength or fatigue strength, or whatever you want for the situation.

And there you have it, structural engineering at its core is all those steps above.


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