Load definition

In physics, the term “load” refers to the external force or forces applied to an object. It represents the forces that act on an object and can affect its motion, deformation, or equilibrium. The concept of load is commonly used in various branches of physics, including mechanics, engineering, and materials science.

Types of loads

Loads can be classified into different types based on their nature and application. Some common types of loads include:

  • Static Load is a force that remains constant in magnitude and direction over time. It does not change the position or shape of the object.
  • Dynamic Load is a force that varies in magnitude and/or direction over time. It may cause the object to move or deform.
  • Tensile Load is a force that tends to stretch or elongate an object. It acts in the opposite direction of compression.
  • Compressive Load is a force that tends to squeeze or shorten an object. It acts in the opposite direction of tension.
  • Shear Load is aforce that causes one layer of a material to slide or deform parallel to another layer.
Effects of load

The application of a load to an object can have various effects depending on the object’s characteristics and the nature of the load. These effects may include:

  • Deformation: Loads can cause objects to change their shape or size. This can be elastic deformation, where the object returns to its original shape after the load is removed, or plastic deformation, where the object undergoes permanent changes.
  • Stress and Strain: Loads induce internal forces within an object, resulting in stress and strain. Stress is the force per unit area acting on a material, while strain is the resulting deformation or change in shape relative to the object’s initial state.
  • Motion: In the presence of unbalanced external forces (loads), an object may experience motion. This can include translational motion (change in position) or rotational motion (change in orientation).
Load distribution

Loads can be distributed over an object in different ways. Uniform load distribution refers to the load being evenly spread across the object, while concentrated load distribution refers to the load being concentrated at specific points or regions.

Load-bearing capacity

The load-bearing capacity of an object or structure refers to its ability to withstand and support external forces without failure. It is an important consideration in engineering design and materials selection.


Understanding and analyzing loads in physics is crucial for predicting the behavior of objects and structures under different conditions. By considering loads and their effects, scientists and engineers can design structures, determine material strengths, and ensure the safety and reliability of various systems and applications.

quiz: Force that varies in magnitude and/or direction over time called ...
Dynamic load
Static load
Materials for this article were gathered from various public sources or written by riglab.org editors.
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