A dimensionless factor, known as stress concentration factor K, is used to quantify how "concentrated" the stress is. It is defined as the ratio of the highest stress in the element to the reference stress (nominal stress).
One of the most commonly used reference stress is just the (gross) stress in the same element under the same loading conditions without the stress concentrators (holes, notches, shoulders and so on). Stress concentration factor defined this way is denoted as K_{g}; another commonly used reference stress is the nominal stress over the cross section area at the location of the stress concentrator. Stress concentration factor defined in this fashion is called K_{n}.
The stress concentration factor calculators presented in this section calculate both K_{g} and K_{n}, whenever possible. One needs to extra attention as to which reference/nominal stress is used before applying these stress concentration factors. Likewise, the same is true for using formulas in failure criteria and fatigue analysis.
