Difference Between Tension and Compression

Main Difference

The main difference between tension and compression is that tension generally discusses forces that attempt to elongate a body, whereas compression normally refers to forces that attempt to shorten the body length.

Tension vs. Compression

Tension is a force that tries to elongate a body or an object, whereas compression is a force that that tries to shorten the body or an object. If a body is in tension, then the overall forces are pulling away from it, while if a body is in compression, then the forces acting upon it are directed toward the body. Tension can be related to pulling on the ends of a rod; on the other hand, compression can be associated with pushing on the ends of a rod toward the middle. Tension is a force promulgation method; on the contrary, compression can be used to the transference of force in the hydraulic system as pressure, but a compressive procedure does not occur. Tension is considered as force, but compression is a phenomenon. Tension is only applied in solid strings; conversely, compression can be valid to any material. The force in tension that acts on the object is always outward from the object, while in compression the force acting on the object is always inward to the object. Examples of tension are ropes, the cable of the crane, nails, threads, etc. while an example of compression is concrete pillars.

Comparison Chart

TensionCompression
A force that tries to elongate a body or an object is called tension.A force that tries to shorten the body or an object is called compression.
Effects of Force
The overall forces are pulling away from the objectThe forces acting upon it are directed toward the body
Related to Object
Can be related to pulling on the ends of a rodCan be associated with pushing on the ends of a rod toward the middle
Considered as
Considered as forceIt is a phenomenon
Method
A force promulgation methodCan be used to the transference of force in the hydraulic system as pressure
Applicable
Only applied in solid stringsCan be valid to any material
Position of Applied Force
Always outward from the objectAlways inward to the object
Examples
Ropes, the cable of crane, nails, threads, etcConcrete pillars

What is Tension?

Tension by physics is described as the puling force which transmitted axially through a cable, chain, a string, similar one-dimensional objects or similar three-dimensional objects. Tension is opposite to the compression and also defined as the action-reaction pair of forces acting at each end of objects. The molecules that make up the string are forced to move away from their equilibrium positions due to the tension that was created in a string. The molecules pull back on the objects that attempt to elongate that string by moving back towards their equilibrium position. If the forces in molecules balance out, then the system comes to an equilibrium, though the string is still under tension and maybe elongated further than its original length. The per unit area tension (the area mentioned here is the cross-sectional area of an object, which is at the right angle to the force) is often termed as tensile stress. The increase in length divided by the original length of the body is termed as tensile strain. The two types of strings will be discussed: A weightless string is a supposed string with no weight, and a real string is a string with a fixed amount of weight. The tension arises at every point of the string when a string pulls an object and this is mainly due to the intermolecular attractions. The bonds resist the deformation when a force tries to expanse the string. This tension causes a succession of balanced force throughout the string. In this way, tension can be considered as a force propagation method.

What is Compression?

Compression in physics is a balanced inward (“pushing”) force to different points on a material or object, i.e. force with no net torque or sum engaged in reducing its size in one or more directions. For illustration, if we press down on a spring, we are applying a compressive force on it. The compression is called uniaxial If compressive forces act along in one direction. Compression will be termed biaxial and triaxial If the compressive forces act in two or three directions respectively. Young’s modulus is the quantitative measurement of a compression. The ratio of the pressure on the body (stress), to the strain of the body, is Young’s modulus. The compressibility factor for gases defined as PV/RT, where P is the pressure, V is the measured volume, R is the universal gas constant, and T is the temperature in Kelvin.

Key Differences

  1. Tension is a force that tries to elongate an object, whereas compression is a force that that tries to shorten an object.
  2. The overall forces are pulling away from it If a body is in tension, while if a body is in compression, then the forces acting upon it are directed toward the body.
  3. Tension can be related to pulling on the ends of a rod; on the other hand, compression can be associated with pushing on the ends of a rod toward the middle.
  4. Tension is a force promulgation method; on the contrary, compression can be used to the transference of force in the hydraulic system as pressure.
  5. Tension is considered as a force, but compression is a phenomenon.
  6. Tension is only applied in solid strings; conversely, compression can be valid to any material.
  7. The direction of a force in tension is outward from the object, while in compression the direction of force acting on the object is always inward to the object.
  8. Examples of tension are ropes, the cable of crane, nails, threads, etc. while an example of compression is concrete pillars.

Conclusion

Above discussion concludes that tension generally elongates an object, whereas compression tries to shorten the object in length. Tension is considered a force, while compression is a phenomenon.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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