This is a simple question that’s been plaguing me for a bit, but which doesn’t seem to have been covered in my basic physics class. Say you placed an object on a table. The object would feel a gravitational force whose magnitude is dependent upon the object's mass; however, in order for the object to remain motionless on the table, the table would have to push up with a normal force equal in magnitude but opposite in direction to the gravitational force that the object feels. However, this is obviously not the case if the object breaks the table. My question is, in a sense, how this “maximum” normal force is determined; what determines the maximum normal force the table can exert before the object breaks it due to an overwhelming gravitational force?