The Significant Difference Between Stress And Strain


What’s the significant difference between stress and strain? This question has been constantly asked by science enthusiasts. So, let’s answer it in this post. First, let’s define each of the terms to have a clear grasp of their meanings.

What is Stress?

Stress originated from the French word "estrece", which means "narrowness" or "oppression", and also from the Latin word "strictus" that has similar meaning - "to draw tight". Therefore, stress is the resisting force when you exert pressure on a physical body.

What is Strain?

On the other hand, strain is the change in form or shape that happens to an object when stress is applied.

Hence, we can now conclude that stress and strain are two physical properties of an object, when force is applied.

You can encounter stress and strain in your daily activities, but you may not be aware of them. It’s good to know how these two properties affect each other, so you would understand more about the objects around you.

Here are examples that you can learn from:


When force is applied on rocks (stress), deformation of the rocks takes place. This is strain. The constant pressure applied by nature is “stress”, and the change occurring as a result of that constant pressure is “strain”. This process can give birth to new structures; particularly, if the object is affected by multi-factors aside from stress.

In Geoscience, there are various factors that can affect the deformation of rocks, such as temperature, type of stress, pressure, hydration and rate of stress. That’s why, sometimes, there are rock formation changes that occur in your coastlines or mountains.


Try this experiment. Sit on a basketball and notice what happens. You can feel the resistance of the ball, as it tries to go back to its original shape.Its resistance to the pressure you have applied by sitting on it is stress. Hence, stress can also be called resistance. The deformity that occurs when you have sat down on the ball is the “strain”.

If we analyze the definitions and examples of stress and strain, we can come up with the following differences.

Differences between Stress and Strain

  1. Stress is variable, while strain can be invariable.
  2. Stress measures the deforming force on an object, while strain is the change in length triggered by the deforming force.
  3. Stress is internally generated but caused by external pressure, while strain is usually generated by the amount of force or stress applied.
  4. Strain cannot occur without stress, but stress can occur without strain.
  5. Within its elastic limits, strain is directly proportional to the stress applied, but stress cannot be caused directly by strain.
  6. Stress is the cause, and strain is the result.
  7. Stress is the resisting tension and strain is the deformity.
  8. Stress is expressed in Pascal (Newton’s per square meter), while strain entails deformation in length, and may; therefore, be dimensionless.
  9. Stress causes changes in the physical body resulting to strain.
  10. Stress originated from the word “strictus” (to draw tight), while strain originated from the word “stringere” (to bind tightly).
  11. Stress canbe typically measured, while strain may not be measured.
  12. Stress is the pressure applied to an object per unit area, while strain is the change or deformity in the dimension of the object.

To understand more about stress and strain, you must also know about their similarities.

Similarities of Stress and Strain

  1. They are both physical properties of objects.
  2. They are both directly proportional to pressure applied from the outside.

To learn more about the difference of stress and strain, watch this video:


This post answers the question: What’s the significant difference between stress and strain? Stress and strain have distinct differences, but they are both physical properties of objects, most especially rocks/soil, and have a cause and effect relationship. They are also most often related to Geosciences or physics.

This knowledge will help you know how to reduce stress if you have one.


Hello everyone! I’m glad to have you here. I’m a medical technologist by profession. My second love is writing. So, I’m focusing on providing content to help other people with their health problems. I hope I can be of help to you.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Comment: