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Properties of


By S.Muthurajan Lecturer Department of Mechanical Engineering Salalah College of Technology Salalah

Properties of materials

When selecting a material for an engineering application, a primary concern is to assure that its properties will be adequate for the anticipated operating conditions The various engineering material properties are given as under. Mechanical properties Chemical properties Thermal properties Electrical properties Magnetic properties Physical properties

Mechanical Properties

The mechanical properties of the metals are those which are associated with the ability of the material to resist mechanical forces and load.
The main mechanical properties of the metal are strength, stiffness, elasticity, plasticity, ductility, malleability, toughness, brittleness, hardness. These properties can be well understood with help of tensile test and stress strain diagram.

Three types of forces or loads Tensile force Compressive force Shear force

Example for Shear load

Stress is a measure of the internal forces acting within a deformable body. It is a measure of the average force per unit area of a surface within the body on which internal forces act. The internal resistance offered by a material to an externally applied force is called stress. Stress (s) = Force / Area of cross section Unit of stress is N/mm2 1 Pa = 1 N/mm2 1 MPa = 1 N/m2

Strain is the deformation produced per unit length of a body due to the effect of stress on it. It is the ratio of the change in length of the specimen to its original length. If L is the original length of the sample and l is the change in length, then longitudinal strain, e = l / L . It has no units

Tensile Test

Stress Strain Diagram

Strength It is the ability to resist the application of force without breaking. Forces may be tensile, compressive or shear.

Tensile Strength = Maximum tensile force / Original Cross section Area

In this diagram, the point E represents Ultimate tensile strength of the material or Maximum tensile strength

Elasticity Elastic deformation (OA): It is defined as the property of a material to regain its original shape after deformation when the external forces are removed.

Within the elastic limit, Stress is directly proportional to Strain. This is called Hooks Law. Stress Strain Stress / Strain = A constant ( E ) This constant E is called as the modulus of elasticity or Youngs Modulus

It is defined as the ability of a material to resist deformation under stress. The resistance of a material to elastic deformation or deflection is called stiffness or rigidity. Small strains under large stresses indicates good stiffness of the material. This means that materials with bigger modulus of elasticity are stiffer. Which one is Stiffer material?


Ductility is termed as the property of a material enabling it to be drawn into wire with the application of tensile load. A ductile material must be strong and plastic. The ductility is usually measured by the terms of percentage elongation. If the percentage of elongation is more then the material is more ductile. The ductile material commonly used in engineering practice in order of diminishing ductility are mild steel, copper, aluminium, nickel, zinc, tin and lead.

Brittleness is the property of a material opposite to ductility. It is the property of breaking of a material with little permanent distortion.

Glass, cast iron, and ceramics are considered as brittle material.

The brittleness is usually measured by the terms of percentage elongation. If the percentage of elongation is less then the material is more brittle.

Stress Strain curve for Brittle materials


Ability to absorb energy up to fracture Total area under the strain-stress curve up to fracture If the material has more strength and more ductility, it is said to be toughness

Different Stress Strain Curves

Hardness is a very important property of materials. Hardness indicates wear-resistance and resistance against abrasion or scratching. A hard material also offers resistance to penetration by another body.

Electrical Properties of the Materials

Electrical conductivity Electrical Resistivity Di electric strength Electrical Resistivity

Electrical resistivity is a measure of how strongly a material opposes the flow of electric current.
A low resistivity indicates a material that readily allows the movement of electric charge. The SI unit of electrical resistivity is the ohm metre (m). It is commonly represented by the Greek letter (rho). = R * A / L
R = Resistance in ohm A = Area of Cross Section L = Length

Electrical Conductivity

Conductivity is defined as the ability of the material to pass electric current through it easily i.e. the material which is conductive will provide an easy path for the flow of electricity through it. K=1/ =L/R *A 1 / ohm = Siemen Therefore Unit for conductivity is Siemen / meter All metals have good electrical conductivity Materials like ceramics, polymers, wood have low values of electrical conductivity

Di electric Strength

It is a measure of the highest voltage that an insulating material can bear without breakdown A material having high dielectric strength can withstand for longer time for high voltage across it before it conducts the current through it. Dielectric strength = Breakdown Voltage / Insulator Thickness Unit for Dielectric strength is V/m. For an example Alumina have a Dielectric strength of 13.4 MV/m This means that a 1m thickness of alumina requires a voltage of 13.4 MV to break.

Thermal Properties

Coefficient of linear expansion All materials are expand or increase in volume when heated to higher temperature . The linear thermal expansion coefficient relates the change in a material's linear dimensions to a change in temperature. = l / t * l l = change in length L = original length t = change in time Unit of Coefficient of linear expansion is K-1 Eg : PVC = 50 - 250 x 106 / K Brick = 3 - 9 x 106 / K

Specific Heat Capacity It is defined as the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of 1kg of the material by 1

Specific heat capacity = heat energy given / mass * temperature rise

Unit of Specific heat capacity is J/ Kg K In general metals have low value of specific heat capacity whereas polymers and ceramics have higher values. Eg : Iron = 437 J/ Kg K Polystyrene = 1300 J/ Kg K

Thermal Conductivity It is the property of a material's ability to conduct heat Thermal Conductivity, k = amount of heat energy / length * temperature Unit for thermal conductivity is W/ mK Most of the metals having high thermal conductivity whereas ceramics have low thermal conductivity Ceramics can be used as heat insulators. Ceramic coatings with low thermal conductivities are used on exhaust systems to prevent heat from reaching sensitive components

Chemical Properties
Corrosion Resistance Corrosion is the disintegration of an engineered material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings. Formation of an oxide of iron due to oxidation of the iron atoms in solid solution is a well-known example of electrochemical corrosion, commonly known as rusting. Aluminium and Stainless steels have excellent resistance. Iron and carbon steels are very poor corrosion resistance.

Magnetic Properties
Magnetic flux density or Magnetic Induction A magnetic field can be produced by putting a current through a coil. Magnetic induction occurs when the material is subjected to magnetic field. If the magnetic field is applied to a solid medium, the magnetic induction in the solid is given by B=H

= magnetic permeability . Its unit is Henry m-1 B is expressed as Weber / m2 or tesla H= Magnetic field strength (H) is expressed in units of A-m1
Some materials are only temporarily magnetized. They are called Soft magnetic materials . Examples are Iron and Ferrous alloys Some other materials can be permanently magnetised. They are called hard magnetic materials. Examples are metal oxides.

How Magnetic induction occur



Physical Properties
Density Mass per unit volume is called as density. In metric system its unit is kg/mm3. Because of very low density, aluminium and magnesium are preferred in aeronautic and transportation applications. Density , = mass / volume Color It deals the quality of light reflected from the surface of metal. Size and shape Dimensions of any metal reflect the size and shape of the material. Length, width, height, depth, curvature diameter etc. determines the size. Shape specifies the rectangular, square, circular or any other section.

Specific Gravity Specific gravity of any metal is the ratio of the density of a given metal to the density of the water at a specified temperature.