It is shown that all symmetries possible for the elastic tensors can be reduced to the twelve symmetries already used in the description of the crystal classes. Each symmetry can be characterized by a group of rotations generated by no more than two rotations. The use of a canonical basis related to such rotations considerably simplifies the component forms of the elasticity tensor. This result applies to non-symmetric tensors; for symmetric tensors, the number of independent symmetries reduces from twelve to ten.
After the present work was submitted, the following paper came to our attention: 14. S.C. Cowin and M.M. Mehrabadi, On the identification of material symmetry for anisotropic elastic materials. Q. Jl. Mech. appl. Math.40 (1987) 451–476. This paper contains an independent analysis of the partial ordering ≺ among the crystallographic elastic symmetries. However, it does not deal with the problem of the completeness of these symmetries.