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Definition Of Mechanical Properties


Tensile Strength This is the ability of a material to withstand tensile loads without rupture when the material is in tension
Compressive Strength This is the ability of a material to withstand Compressive (squeezing) loads without being crushed when the material is in compression .
Shear Strength This is the ability of a material to withstand offset or traverse loads without rupture occurring .
Toughness This is the ability of a material to withstand shatter. A material which easily shatters is brittle. Toughness indicates the ability of a material to absorb energy
Elasticity This is the ability of a material to deform under load and return to its original size and shape when the load is removed. The property is required for springs
Plasticity This is the property of a material to deform permanently under the application of a load. Plastacine is plastic. This is the exact opposite to elasticity.
Ductility This is ability of a material to stretch under the application of tensile load and retain the deformed shape on the removal of the load. A ductile material combines the properties of plasticiy and tensile strength. All materials which are formed by drawing are required to be ductile
Malleability This is the property of a material to deform permanently under the application of a compressive load. A material which is forged to its final shape is required to be malleable
Fatigue Strength This is the property of a material to withstand continuously varying and alternating loads
Fatigue Information Link
Hardness This is the property of a material to withstand indentation and surface abrasion by another hard object. It is an indication of the wear resistance of a material.e.g Diamonds are very hard. Information on hardness measurement is found on page Hardness measurement information link


Metals listed in order of their properties

Note: This is only a crude table and should not be used for making design decisions


Toughness BrittlenessDuctility Malleability Hardness Corrosion Resistance
Copper White Cast Iron Gold Gold Diamond Gold
Nickel Grey Cast Iron Silver Silver Tungsten Platinum
Iron Hardened Steel Platinum Aluminium Hardened Steel Silver
Magnesium Bismuth Iron CopperSteelSteel Mercury
Zinc Manganese Nickel Tin Brass Copper
Aluminium Bronzes Copper Lead Titanium Lead
Lead Aluminium Aluminium Zinc CopperTin
Tin Brass Tungsten Iron AluminiumNickel
Cobalt Structural Steel Zinc - ZincIron
Bismuth Zinc Tin - Gold Zinc
- Monel Lead - Tin Magnesium
- Tin - - Lead
- Copper - - Graphite-
- Iron - - Lithium -
Links Providing Relevant Information
  1. Gordon England ..Thermal Spraying Specialist with detailed information on Hardness Testing / Corrosion

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Last Updated 22/03/2010