Lamé parameters

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In continuum mechanics, the Lamé parameters (also called the Lamé coefficients or Lamé constants) are two material-dependent quantities denoted by λ and μ that arise in strain-stress relationships.[1] In general, λ and μ are individually referred to as Lamé's first parameter and Lamé's second parameter, respectively. Other names are sometimes employed for one or both parameters, depending on context. For example, the parameter μ is referred to in fluid dynamics as the dynamic viscosity of a fluid; whereas in the context of elasticity, μ is called the shear modulus,[2]:p.333 and is sometimes denoted by G instead of μ. Typically the notation G is seen paired with the use of Young's modulus, and the notation μ is paired with the use of λ.

In homogeneous and isotropic materials, these define Hooke's law in 3D,

where σ is the stress, ε the strain tensor, the identity matrix and the trace function.

The two parameters together constitute a parameterization of the elastic moduli for homogeneous isotropic media, popular in mathematical literature, and are thus related to the other elastic moduli; for instance, the bulk modulus can be expressed as .

Although the shear modulus, μ, must be positive, the Lamé's first parameter, λ, can be negative, in principle; however, for most materials it is also positive.

The parameters are named after Gabriel Lamé.

Further reading[edit]

  • K. Feng, Z.-C. Shi, Mathematical Theory of Elastic Structures, Springer New York, ISBN 0-387-51326-4, (1981)
  • G. Mavko, T. Mukerji, J. Dvorkin, The Rock Physics Handbook, Cambridge University Press (paperback), ISBN 0-521-54344-4, (2003)
  • W.S. Slaughter, The Linearized Theory of Elasticity, Birkhäuser, ISBN 0-8176-4117-3, (2002)


  1. ^ "Lamé Constants". Weisstein, Eric. Eric Weisstein's World of Science, A Wolfram Web Resource. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
  2. ^ Jean Salencon (2001), "Handbook of Continuum Mechanics: General Concepts, Thermoelasticity". Springer Science & Business Media ISBN 3-540-41443-6
Conversion formulas
Homogeneous isotropic linear elastic materials have their elastic properties uniquely determined by any two moduli among these; thus, given any two, any other of the elastic moduli can be calculated according to these formulas.

There are two valid solutions.
The plus sign leads to .
The minus sign leads to .

Cannot be used when