Deflection, abbreviated as DEF, is the change in the position of something from zero or from its normal position. Deflection refers to the deviation or bending of the path of an object or particle as it moves through a force field or experiences interactions with other objects.
In engineering and mechanics it refers to the displacement or bending experienced by a structure or object when subjected to external forces or loads. It is a measure of how much a component or system moves or deforms from its original position due to the applied forces acting upon it. Deflection can occur in various types of structures, such as beams, columns, plates, bridges, and other load-bearing elements. When external forces are applied to a structure, it undergoes deformation, and the amount of deflection depends on factors like the material properties, shape, geometry, and boundary conditions of the component.
Engineers analyze and design structures while considering deflection to ensure that the deformation is within acceptable limits for the intended application. Excessive deflection can lead to structural instability, reduced performance, or even failure, so controlling and limiting deflection is crucial for the safety and functionality of the overall system.