Sir David Brewster;  1781-1868,  200 years on …

A commemoration of the Philosophical Transactions

Presenting the fundamentals of  Photoelasticity



 Two centuries ago …… early in the year 1816 David Brewster presented far reaching, ground breaking papers which unraveled the mysteries of ‘double refraction’ in certain transparent crystals. The papers recorded in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society also brought to the scientific community the phenomenon of artificial birefingence which is proportional to an applied force, thus introducing ‘photoelasticity’ which gave a graphic demonstration of stress distributions to the engineering world.

Based on the fundamental work of Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) in optics and the observations of Bartholin (1625-1698) on double refraction in certain clear crystal Brewster explored the many properties of photoelasticity. The subject has been further explored by many notable scientists and utilized by great engineers, since that pioneer paper of 1816 in the analysis of stress in engineering structures.

This book seeks to mark the significant discoveries of Brewster by illustrations using modern birefringent materials. Although based on the most profound scientific principles this commemorative work is in the form of a ‘coffee table’ book and is a celebration in a popular photographic form coupled with minimal explanations.

The photographs in this book are taken mainly from the Aircraft Industry; however, they illustrate the possible applications across all industries. Examples of some historical champions of Photoelasticity include Coker and Filon (Treatise published in 1931), Prof. Stephen Timoshenko in the early editions of his Theory of Elasticity (published 1934 and 45) and Felix Zandman.

Photoelasticity remains a powerful analytical tool alongside current popular computer based numerical techniques.

Authored by: Eddie O’Brien PhD. FSEM

with contributions by: Drs. Gary Cloud, James Dally and Eann Paterson


Title ISBN # Price

Sir David Brewster

200 years on …

CD of an eBook

Copyright 2015, 126 Pages





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