Using the Combined Stress Tool

In bodies under plane stress, MEboost's combined stress tool calculates various stresses that allow for comparison to a yield strength in uniaxial tension.  These stresses are used in conjunction with failure theories to determine suitability of a design.

The tool calculates the following:

  • Von Mises stress
  • In-plane principal stresses
  • Maximum shear stresses (in-plane and out of plane)

Example Stress State

The body below is under plane stress in the XY plane.  We'll use this example for running the tool.

Running the Combined Stress Tool

Using the example above, we'll run the combined stress tool.

Clicking the Combined Stress button on the ribbon will open the following form.

Stress State

Enter the stress in the x and y directions and shear stress.  If there is no stress in a direction, or no shear stress, enter 0.

Stresses are entered using this convention:

  • A positive number for tensile stress
  • A negative number for compressive stress

After entering stress values, click the Calculate button.


After calculating, the results will appear in the box.  The in-plane principal stresses are shown.  Since this is plane stress, the third principal stress is zero.

For maximum shear stress, the maximum in-plane (xy) shear stress and maximum out of plane shear stress (either xz or yz) are calculated.  To learn more about in-plane vs. out of plane stress, refer to this article.

Paste Results

The calculation results can be pasted to a worksheet by clicking Paste Results.  The following dialog box will appear.

Select the upper left cell where the results are to be pasted.  In our case, we select cell A1 on Sheet2.  When done, click OK.  The combined stress tool form will reappear and the results will be located in the selected location.

MEboost is an Excel add-in that includes a suite of mechanical engineering tools for analysis and charting.


Excel is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.  Used with permission from Microsoft.