This paper deals with the optimization of the shape of the corners and sides of a square hole, located in a large plate and subjected to in-plane loads, with the object of minimizing stress concentrations. Appreciable disagreement has been found between the results obtained previously by other investigators. In this paper new tests have been conducted and discrepancies have been corrected. Using an optimization technique, the authors have developed a quasi square shape which introduces a stress concentration of only 2.54 in a uniaxial field, the comparable value for the circular hole being 3. The efficiency factor of the proposed optimum shape is 0.90 whereas the efficiency factor of the best shape developed previously was 0.71. The shape also is developed that minimizes the stress concentration in the case of biaxial loading when the ratio of biaxiality is 1:-1.

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