Puck image by Florian Ertl from Fotolia.com

Shape factor is a material science engineering term related to the compression or deflection of a material when a load is applied to the material per its given shape. The shape factor basically indicates what effect the shape of an object has on how much the object will deform when pressure is applied to it. The shape factor is used to compare the compressibility of two different shapes of the same material and net volume.

Measure the area of the face of the object where the load is being applied (load face). Calculate the area of a rectangle by height times width; for a circle use pi times the radius squared. Use the ruler to measure the height and width if not known.

Measure the cumulative area of all faces that can bulge (i.e., perpendicular to the load face) when the load is applied (bulge face).

Divide the area of the load face by the area of the bulge face.

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- Puck image by Florian Ertl from Fotolia.com