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It is known that the propagation characteristics of elastic waves are influenced by the nature of biasing stress distributions in the propagating medium. A knowledge of the magnitude of such effects plays an important role in improving the performance and long term aging characteristics of surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices. Generally, SAW devices employ thin platelike structures as the propagating medium of surface waves. The biasing deformation of such structures due to externally applied forces can be decomposed into extensional and flexural deformations which can have substantially different effects on the change in the time delay between two observations points. This paper describes a study of the fractional change in the time delay of surface waves due to the stress components in terms of which a general deformation can be expressed. The information on the biasing state of thin disks has been employed in a previously reported perturbation procedure for equations of motion for small dynamic field superposed on a static bias. Computational results have been obtained for fractional changes in the time delay of surface waves in crystalline quartz of various orientations and propagation directions due to many simple stress systems in thin disks. We have considered the cases of flexural deformation of rectangular plates due to cylindrical bending and disks subjected to normal pressures, as well as extensional deformation due to a pair of forces acting diametrically on a circular disk along various azimuthal angles. Experimental results have been obtained for the moment‐frequency effect on circular ST‐cut quartz disks and the force‐frequency effects on both singly, as well as doubly rotated quartz disks. Good agreement has been obtained between the theoretical predictions and experimental measurements.