Hide Table of Contents

Maximum Normal Stress Criterion

The maximum normal stress criterion also known as Coulomb’s criterion is based on the Maximum normal stress theory. According to this theory failure occurs when the maximum principal stress reaches the ultimate strength of the material for simple tension.

This criterion is used for brittle materials. It assumes that the ultimate strength of the material in tension and compression is the same. This assumption is not valid in all cases.

For example, cracks decrease the strength of the material in tension considerably while their effect is far less smaller in compression because the cracks tend to close.

Brittle materials do not have a specific yield point and hence it is not recommended to use the yield strength to define the limit stress for this criterion.

This theory predicts failure to occur when:

σ1 >= σ limit , where σ1 is the maximum principal stress.

The Factor of Safety (FOS) is calculated as:

FOS = σ limit / σ1

Provide feedback on this topic

SOLIDWORKS welcomes your feedback concerning the presentation, accuracy, and thoroughness of the documentation. Use the form below to send your comments and suggestions about this topic directly to our documentation team. The documentation team cannot answer technical support questions. Click here for information about technical support.

* Required

Subject:   Feedback on Help Topics
Page:   Maximum Normal Stress Criterion
*   I acknowledge I have read and I hereby accept the privacy policy under which my Personal Data will be used by Dassault Systèmes

Print Topic

Select the scope of content to print:


We have detected you are using a browser version older than Internet Explorer 7. For optimized display, we suggest upgrading your browser to Internet Explorer 7 or newer.

 Never show this message again

Web Help Content Version: SOLIDWORKS 2016 SP05

To disable Web help from within SOLIDWORKS and use local help instead, click Help > Use SOLIDWORKS Web Help.

To report problems encountered with the Web help interface and search, contact your local support representative. To provide feedback on individual help topics, use the “Feedback on this topic” link on the individual topic page.