Introduced by Otto Mohr in 1882, Mohr's Circle illustrates principal stresses and stress transformations via a graphical format,
The two principal stresses are shown in red, and the maximum shear stress is shown in orange. Recall that the normal stesses equal the principal stresses when the stress element is aligned with the principal directions, and the shear stress equals the maximum shear stress when the stress element is rotated 45° away from the principal directions.
As the stress element is rotated away from the principal (or maximum shear) directions, the normal and shear stress components will always lie on Mohr's Circle.
Mohr's Circle was the leading tool used to visualize relationships between normal and shear stresses, and to estimate the maximum stresses, before handheld calculators became popular. Even today, Mohr's Circle is still widely used by engineers all over the world.
