Because material properties vary from point to point in nonhomogeneous materials, there is some question as to what “properties” are measured in tests such as the tensile test, and how such “properties” can be used in the mechanical design process. In this paper, the mechanical response of nonhomogeneous prismatic bars in pure bending has been shown to depend on parameters that are strongly coupled combinations of geometry and material properties. The purely geometry based inertia tensor in homogeneous beam theory is replaced in the nonhomogeneous case by the rigidity tensor, which combines geometry and material properties. Interpretations for the average elastic moduli, which would be determined by tests on nonhomogeneous materials, have been explored. Also discussed is the usefulness of such average moduli for predicting the mechanical response of nonhomogeneous bars.

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