The concentration or amplification of an applied stress at the tip of a notch or small crack.
stress concentration (often called stress raisers or stress risers) is a location in an object where stress is concentrated. An object is strongest when force is evenly distributed over its area, so a reduction in area, e.g. caused by a crack, results in a localized increase in stress. A material can fail, via a propagating crack, when a concentrated stress exceeds the material's theoretical cohesive strength. The real fracture strength of a material is always lower than the theoretical value because most materials contain small cracks or contaminants (especially foreign particles) that concentrate stress. Fatigue cracks always start at stress raisers, so removing such defects increases the fatigue strength.