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Mechanical properties of materials

Mechanical properties include those characteristics of material that describes its behavior
under the action of external load. The knowledge of mechanical properties is essential to know,
how the material behaves under the application of load when used in service.
Mechanical properties can be measured by a number of experimental techniques when the
material is subjected to tension, compression, bending, twisting etc. The most common type of
test used to measure the material properties is tensile test. It is widely used to evaluate the
fundamental properties of material for its use in analysis, design and construction.
In all the practical applications, there is always a chance of failure. So, for the safe design
of a component, we always provide a factor of safety that means the maximum stress is always
greater than working/allowable stress.
Various mechanical properties of materials are
Elasticity: It is the property of a material by which it can regain its original shape after
deformation, when the external forces are removed.

Desirable in tools and machine parts.

Steel is more elastic than rubber.

Plasticity: It is the property of a material by which it may be permanently deformed when

subjected to externally applied load great enough to exceed the elastic limit.

Desirable in all the material forming applications like rolling, forging, extrusion, sheet
metal forming etc.
In crystalline material, plastic deformation occur through the phenomena of slip along
different crystallographic planes.

Ductility: It is the capacity of a material to undergo deformation under tension without rupture.

Can be express in terms of % elongation or % area reduction.

Desirable in wire drawing application.

Brittleness: Tendency to fracture without appreciable deformation is known as brittleness.

A material that experiences very little or no permanent deformation is termed as brittle.

Required where compressive stress is applied. Ex: Cast iron bed in lathe machine.

Malleability: It is the capacity of a material to undergo deformation under compression without


Highly required in sheet metal forming application.

Hardness: Hardness is the resistance of a material to plastic deformation usually by indentation.

It can be also defined as the resistance to abrasion, scratching and cutting.

Sufficient amount of hardness is required in almost all the machines and tools.

Resilience: Resilience is defined as the ability of a material to absorb energy when it is

elastically deformed.

Area under the stress-strain curve up to elastic limit is called resilience.

Desired where the material is elastically deformed.

Toughness: Toughness is defined as the ability of a material to absorb energy during plastic
deformation up to fracture.

Area under the stress-strain curve up to fracture is called toughness.

Desirable where shock load is applied.

Strength: Ability of a material to resist the externally applied load without failure or fracture is
known as strength.
Tensile strength: Resistance offered by a material under the application of tensile load is known
as tensile strength.
Yield strength: Yield strength is defined as the minimum value of stress at which plastic
deformation starts to occur.

Yield strength is the stress corresponding to the yield point on stress axis.

Ultimate strength: Strength is defined as the maximum internal resisting force developed inside
the material under the action of external load.

Ultimate strength is the stress corresponding to the ultimate point on stress axis.

Creep: When a material is subjected to constant load at high temperature its strength
continuously increases with time, this phenomenon is known as creep.

Time dependent permanent deformation is known as creep.

Fatigue: When the material is subjected to repeated or cyclic stress, due to alternate tensile and
compressive stress the material fails at the stress below the yield point stress. Such type of failure
of material is known as fatigue.

Fatigue failure occurs due to initiation and propagation of cracks.

This property is considered while designing shafts, connecting rods, springs, gears etc.

Wear resistance: Wear is the unintensional removal of solid material from rubbing surfaces.
The ability of a material to resist wear and abrasion is called wear resistance.

Example: wear of tool material during operation.