Physics - Strength
One factor to consider when choosing a material is its strength.  If
the compressive stress  on an object exceeds a certain level, the object
will be crushed. Similarly, if the tensile stress  becomes too great,
the object will snap. The compressive and tensile strengths of a material
are often different.
The ultimate strength of a material is the _minimum stress_ required to
fracture the material.
In certain situations, it is wise to have a large safety factor.
Rock climbing equipment has very high safety factors. It is very rare
for climbing ropes to break - but it does happen
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