# What is the difference in deformation between a set of rigidly connected rigid bodies and a deformable body?

Physics Asked on January 6, 2022

Consider this hinge joint:

In particular, both linkages are rigid and the joint itself is rigid. While the system does have degrees of freedom and is in some sense deformable, the linkages themselves and the joint are not deformable when considered individually, just as a system.

By contrast, a wooden board that bends due to the stress added onto it is clearly deforming. It has passed beyond the rigidity phase and either is in the elastic phase or the plastic phase.

Clearly the ability for these systems to be manipulated are very different. Yet neither system is rigid and each is in some sense changeable.

What is the difference in deformation between a set of rigidly connected rigid bodies and a deformable body?

A deformable body is simply the continuum limit of a set of elastically connected rigid bodies. In fact, the equations for stress and strain in a deformable body are conventionally derived by considering a discrete lattice of masses connected by springs and then letting the lattice spacing go to zero.

Answered by probably_someone on January 6, 2022

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