Mechanical Properties

Strength

  • The ability of a material to withstand a load or a force without failure.
  • This term is usually too vague to be used without a prefix (e.g. Impact strength, Compression strength. etc.)

Ductility

  • The ability of a material to be shaped or drawn into a wire by a tensile force without fracturing.
  • Materials which exhibit high ductility include:
    • Pure Silver
    • Pure Copper
    • Low Carbon Steels
  • Like malleability, most soft materials exhibit this trait.

Malleability

  • The ability of a material to be shaped or flattened by a compressive force without fracturing.
  • Materials that exhibit high malleability include:
    • Pure Silver
    • Aluminium
    • Brass
  • These are materials that can be easily cold-worked to strengthen or shape it.

Hardness

  • The ability of a material to resist scratching or indentation. Sometimes known as scratch resistance.
  • Materials that exhibit high hardness include:
    • Diamond
    • Ceramics
    • Superhard metals:
  • Both heat treatment and work hardening can be done to increase this property.

Elasticity

  • The ability of a material to return to its original position/shape after the removal of the deforming force.
  • This is also known as Resilience and can be found through a stress/strain diagram
  • Materials that exhibit high elasticity are:
    • Rubber
    • Thermosoftening Polymers
  • A material that is not elastic is said to be stiff
  • Stiff materials include:
    • Lead
    • Tungsten
    • High carbon steels

Toughness

  • The ability of a material to withstand an impact force and deform plastically before fracturing
  • It's basically how much energy the material can absorb before breaking, and can also be found through a stress/strain diagram
  • Materials with high toughness include:
    • Low Carbon Steels
    • Copper
    • Nickel
  • If a material is not tough, it is said to be brittle
  • Brittle materials include:
    • Cast Irons
    • Glass