Elastic Material - Definition, Properties and Types

By Aina Parasher|Updated : August 2nd, 2022

In our routine, many materials are used for basic necessities. These materials behave based on their property. Elastic materials are those kinds of materials that regain their original shape after removing the load. In other words, a material with elastic properties to regain its original shape by reversing the load is called elastic material.

Elastic material obeys hooks' law. From this law, the strain of the material is proportional to the applied stress; hence this is called the limit of proportionality of elastic material.

What are Elastic Materials?

When an elastic material is deformed by an external force, the deformation is internally resisted and returns to its initial state once the external force is eliminated.

A stress-strain curve, which depicts the relationship between stress (the average restorative internal force per unit area) and strain, is used to characterise the elasticity of materials (the relative deformation).The curve is often nonlinear, but for sufficiently minor deformations, it can be represented as linear. Let us now discuss the properties, types and tests of elastic materials.

Properties of Elastic Materials

Elastic materials are always inversely proportional to the strain of the material. In which the material remains the same before and after removing the externally applied load. Elastic material having a limit of loading is known as the elastic limit.

Upto the elastic limit, the range of loading is directly proportional to the strain rate. This range of curvature is a straight line and passes through the origin. This straight-line length depends on the properties of elastic material; it's known as the limit of proportionality.

Types of Elastic Materials

Elastic materials vary with loading or unloading conditions. In these conditions, the material behaves on the basis of loading intensities as instant or sudden loading or gradual loading. Generally, we consider linear elastic material or nonlinear elastic material.

  • Linear Elastic Material - This type of material is applied under load and shows a linear graph between stress and strain passing through the origin. Structural steel is taken as a linear elastic material that we use in the limit state design method.
  • Non-Linear Elastic Material - This type of material is applied under load and shows a nonlinear graph between stress and strain passing through the origin. The non-linear elastic material is the scalar function of the deformation parameter. The non-linear elastic material is an artificial material also known as a hyper-elastic material.

For example, we consider rubber as a non-elastic material, and its slope (ds/de) is approximately parabolic, passing through the origin known as tangent modulus.

Test of Elastic Material

Elastic material test under a uniform tensile machine. In this machine, when a sample of steel bar is placed between the anchor and applies controlled tensile force, a certain point of pull is reversed, material regains its original shape; this phenomenon can be recorded on paper as a stress-strain curve. This test is also known as the stress-strain test. In the curve below, O to B is the elastic region.

Elastic material value can be termed as modulus of elasticity. This is represented by E. This modulus of elasticity is directly proportional to stress and inversely proportional to strain. From this test, we can get the modulus of elasticity of different materials as.

  • Mild steel modulus of elasticity = 210 GPa
  • Mild steel modulus of copper = 120 GPa
  • Mild steel modulus of cast iron = 130 GPa
  • Mild steel modulus of concrete = 17 GPa
  • Mild steel modulus of plastic = 2 GPa
  • Mild steel modulus of glass = 50-90 GPa
  • Mild steel modulus of rubber = 0.02 GPa

Here we conclude that mild steel is more elastic than rubber and plastic material.

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FAQs on Elastic Material

  • Elastic materials are those that, when the load is removed, return to their original shape. In other terms, an elastic material is one that has the ability to restore its previous shape by reversing the load.

  • Young’s modulus of elasticity is also known as the modulus of elasticity. It is denoted by E. This is the capacity of any material to regain its original shape when it is unloaded. This is considered as the ratio of stress to strain.

    Modulus of elasticity ( E ) = σ/ε 

    Where σ is applied stress in Mpa and ε is a strain of the material.

  • Elasticity, the greater resistance against any force, is termed as elasticity of that material. And high elasticity value is considered an elastic material. As steel is stretched showing less change in length to original length, it means steel has high elasticity.

  • We know that high elastic materials have properties such as high resistance against the applied tensile load. We know that in construction work most materials are used as copper, bronze, glass, rubber, plastic, iron etc. From all these materials steel has higher resistance from tensile force, so in concrete to wear tensile load steel is commonly used.

  • Elastic materials show strength as modulus of elasticity and this elastic material is to be found as the ratio of stress to strain. We know as strain does not have any unit only stress has a unit as MPa or GPa, hence the stress unit is similar for the elastic material unit as the modulus of elasticity unit.

  • Material will permanently distort if it is loaded past its elastic limit. The elastic strain will recover (return to zero) after the material is unloaded, but the plastic strain will not. It is referred to as a permanent set.

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