Generally, rigidity refers to inflexibility or resistance to change. It has a number of specific meanings depending on the field of application.

In medicine (neurology) rigidity describes an increase in muscle tone, leading to a resistance to passive movement throughout the range of motion.

In psychology, rigidity refers to an obstacle to problem solving which arises from over-dependence on prior experience, which makes it difficult for a person with experience in a specific problem domain to recognize novel solution strategies. This phenomenon is also known as a "mental set". A specific example is functional fixedness, which is a difficulty conceiving new uses for familiar objects. [cite book
last = Davis
first = Stephen F.
authorlink =
coauthors = Palladino, Joseph J.
title = Psychology
publisher = Pearson Prentice Hall
date = 2007
location =
pages = 331
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 0-13-220840-7

In solid mechanics, "rigidity" refers to the degree of deforming ability of a solid material. Modulus of elasticity with moment of inertia (E·I) is the numeric value of rigidity. According to this expression, one can see only two criteria affect deformation, which are geometry and the material of an object.

In Accelerator Physics, "rigidity" refers to a particle beam's resistance to deflection by a magnetic field. It is defined as Bρ = A/Z * 3.33564 * p. B is the magnetic field, ρ is the radius of curvature (set by the accelerator in question), A is the atomic mass number, Z is the particle's charge and p is the particle momentum (in GeV/c). The units of Bρ are Tesla-Meters. It is frequently referred to as simply "Bρ". [cite book
last = Lee
first = S.Y.
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Accelerator Physics, Second Edition
publisher = World Scientific
date = 2004
location =
pages = 576
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 981-256-200-1

Rigidity is also known as the material property of shear modulus which is a measure of force per unit area needed to change the shape of a material.


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  • Rigidity — Ri*gid i*ty, n. [L. rigiditas: cf. F. rigidit[ e]. See {Rigid}.] 1. The quality or state of being rigid; want of pliability; the quality of resisting change of form; the amount of resistance with which a body opposes change of form; opposed to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • rigidity — index formality, rigor Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • rigidity — 1. Stiffness or inflexibility. SYN: rigor (1). 2. In psychiatry and clinical psychology, an aspect of personality characterized by an individual s resistance to change. 3. In neurology, one type of increase in …   Medical dictionary

  • rigidity — n. (in neurology) resistance to the passive movement of a limb that persists throughout its range. It is a symptom of parkinsonism. The smooth resistance through the whole range of movement is also known as lead pipe rigidity; with superimposed… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • rigidity — standumas statusas T sritis automatika atitikmenys: angl. rigidity; stiffness vok. Righeit, f; Starrheit, f; Steifigkeit, f rus. жёсткость, f pranc. raideur, f; rigidité, f …   Automatikos terminų žodynas

  • rigidity — See torsional rigidity …   Dictionary of automotive terms

  • rigidity — rigid ► ADJECTIVE 1) unable to bend or be forced out of shape. 2) (of a person) stiff and unmoving. 3) not able to be changed or adapted. DERIVATIVES rigidify verb rigidity noun rigidly adverb. ORIGIN Latin ri …   English terms dictionary

  • rigidity — noun (plural ties) Date: 1624 1. the quality or state of being rigid 2. one that is rigid (as in form or conduct) …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • rigidity — ri·gid·i·ty (rĭ jĭdʹĭ tē) n. pl. ri·gid·i·ties 1. The quality or state of being rigid. 2. An instance of being rigid. * * * …   Universalium

  • rigidity — noun a) The quality or state of being rigid; want of pliability; the quality of resisting change of form; the amount of resistance with which a body opposes change of form. b) Stiffness of appearance or manner; want of ease or elegance. Ant …   Wiktionary

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