The method of three-dimensional photoelasticity is based on the experimental fact that samples of phenolic resins, such as Bakelite, Marblette, and Trolon, when annealed in a loaded condition show a complete preservation of (a) the elastic deformation and (b) the accompanying birefringence produced by the loading at the annealing temperature. After presenting a historical review of the method, the author discusses the current theory of the molecular structure of phenolic resins by which the phenomena observed in the annealing procedure can be explained. Test results are given which prove the elasticity of Bakelite at elevated temperatures. Applications of the method are also discussed.

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