“How can we classify the ability of a material to resist forces that are parallel to the surface?”
Have you ever been mystified by how an object can be broken apart by taking two different sides and sliding one upwards and the other downwards? And have you ever thought about how we could quantify this phenomena? Well, believe it or not, this comes down to a very simple factor called shear strength. Shear strength is the maximum ability of an object to resist yielding against shear strains, or deformations in objects that are induced by internal sliding. Adhesives are often used to solidify the shear strength. The study of shear strength is critically important for structural engineering, as doing so could prevent catastrophic failures. For example, we can apply the shear strength of materials to study how a boat being tethered to a dock could cause a rupture on the dock.