This paper presents equivalent circuits representing the partial differential equations of the theory of elasticity for bodies of arbitrary shapes. Transient, steady-state, or sinusoidally oscillating elastic-field phenomena may now be studied, within any desired degree of accuracy, either by a “network analyzer,” or by numerical- and analytical-circuit methods. Such problems are the propagation of elastic waves, determination of the natural frequencies of vibration of elastic bodies, or of stresses and strains in steady-stressed states. The elastic body may be non-homogeneous, may have arbitrary shape and arbitrary boundary conditions, it may rotate at a uniform angular velocity and may, for representation, be divided into blocks of uneven length in different directions. The circuits are developed to handle both two- and three-dimensional phenomena. They are expressed in all types of orthogonal curvilinear reference frames in order to simplify the boundary relations and to allow the solution of three-dimensional problems with axial and other symmetry by the use of only a two-dimensional network. Detailed circuits are given for the important cases of axial symmetry, cylindrical co-ordinates (two-dimensional) and rectangular co-ordinates (two- and three-dimensional). Nonlinear stress-strain relations in the plastic range may be handled by a step-by-step variation of the circuit constants. Nonisotropic bodies and nonorthogonal reference frames, however, require an extension of the circuits given. The circuits for steady-state stress and small oscillation phenomena require only inductances and capacitors, while the circuits for transients require also standard (not ideal) transformers. A companion paper deals in detail with numerical and experimental methods to solve the equivalent circuits.

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