illustration of uniform compression
the bulk modulus ( or ) of a substance is a measure of how resistant to compression that substance is. it is defined as the ratio of the infinitesimal pressure increase to the resulting relative decrease of the volume. other moduli describe the material's response (strain) to other kinds of stress: the shear modulus describes the response to shear, and young's modulus describes the response to linear stress. for a fluid, only the bulk modulus is meaningful. for a complex anisotropic solid such as wood or paper, these three moduli do not contain enough information to describe its behaviour, and one must use the full generalized hooke's law.