Engineering Properties of Materials: Define Mechanical Properties

By Mohit Uniyal|Updated : August 3rd, 2022

The Mechanical properties of engineering materials are those properties of the material that comes into action on the application of forces. A substance (often a solid) is characterized as material if it is meant to be utilized for a certain purpose. We are surrounded by a wide variety of materials used in everything from spacecraft to structures. Engineering Materials are substances employed as raw materials for any construction or organized production for an engineering application. Materials are classified according to their characteristics. They possess qualities such as magnetism, thermal conductivity, heat capacity, stiffness, hardness, and thermal conductivity, among others. Among various properties of materials, the Mechanical properties of engineering materials tell the response of material against applied load.

The Mechanical properties of engineering materials can be used as a standard to compare the advantages of various materials, assisting in the choice of materials. So a good knowledge of the Mechanical properties of engineering materials is very important for selecting material for a particular application. Material selection is the process of deciding which materials will be utilized for a certain application.

What are the Mechanical Properties of Engineering Materials?

Understanding the material's mechanical properties is crucial before choosing it for a particular engineering product or application. "The Mechanical properties of engineering materials are those that influence their mechanical strength and capacity for shaping into a desired shape." Or in other words, "Mechanical properties are physical properties that a material exhibits upon the application of forces."

Everything we use daily may be modified to work in particular situations. This can be done effectively if we know each material's characteristics beforehand. Significant materials' properties have been tested to classify them into broad groupings. Product designers can use the information from a description of some typical mechanical and physical properties to help them choose the right materials for a particular application.

Important Mechanical Properties of Engineering Materials

A material's property is an intensive attribute of some material and independent of the material's quantity. Some important Mechanical properties of engineering materials are:

  • Strength
  • Hardness
  • Toughness
  • Brittleness
  • Ductility
  • Malleability

Strength

A material's ability to resist deformation or breakdown in the presence of loads or external forces is known as strength. The materials we choose for our engineering goods must be sufficiently strong mechanically to function under various mechanical forces or loads.

Hardness

Hardness is one of the important properties among the mechanical properties of engineering materials which enables the material to offer resistance to localized permanent deformation and scratches. Numerous applications of engineering design make use of hardness. This characteristic is crucial since it directly affects the functionality and appropriateness of the material.

Toughness

A material's ability to absorb energy and undergo plastic deformation without fracturing is known as toughness. The amount of energy in a given volume determines its numerical value. Joules/m3 is the unit of toughness. Stress-strain properties of a material can be used to calculate a material's toughness value. Materials need to be strong and ductile to be tough. Impact testing equipment is used to determine a metal's toughness.

Brittleness

A material's brittleness refers to how easily it fractures under the influence of a force or load. When brittle material is stressed, it experiences very little energy and cracks without experiencing a lot of strain. The opposite of a material's ductility is brittleness. Material brittleness is temperature-dependent. Some metals that are ductile at room temperature become brittle at low temperatures.

Ductility

A solid material's ductility is a property that describes how easily it deforms when subjected to tensile stress. The capacity of a substance to be drawn or pulled into a wire is a common way to classify ductility. This mechanical quality, which is temperature-dependent, is also a component of a material's plasticity. The ductility of a substance increases with temperature.

Malleability

A solid material's malleability refers to how quickly it can distort when subjected to compressive stress. The ability of a material to be rolled or hammered into a thin sheet is a common way to classify malleability. This mechanical quality is a component of the material's plasticity. Temperature affects a material's malleability. The malleability of the material rises as the temperature rises.

Creep, hardenability, resilience, and fatigue are additional essential mechanical properties of engineering materials in addition to the ones described above.

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FAQ on Mechanical Properties of Engineering Materials

  • The Mechanical properties of engineering materials are those that concern how it responds to an applied load. The mechanical characteristics of metals establish the range of a material's applicability and the anticipated service life. Material classification and identification techniques also make use of mechanical properties.

  • There are various types of Mechanical properties of engineering materials; a few of them are listed below:

    • Strength
    • Hardness 
    • Toughness 
    • Brittleness 
    • Ductility 
    • Malleability
  • Creep is a property of a material that denotes a material's tendency to move slowly and permanently deform when subjected to external mechanical stresses. It happens due to prolonged exposure to significant external mechanical stress within yielding limits. Creep is more severe in materials exposed to heat for an extended period of time. Although it can also happen at room temperature, this deformation mainly happens at high temperatures.

  • Resilience is a material's capacity to absorb energy when elastically deformed and release that energy when unloaded. The highest amount of energy that can be absorbed without causing irreversible deformation is referred to as proof resilience.

  • Some important factors affecting the mechanical properties of engineering materials are the content of alloy, shape; grain size; imperfection and defects, etc. Alloy composition can increase or reduce a material's hardness and strength. Smaller grain sizes increase the material's strength. Defects and imperfections lessen the material's strength. However, the material is unaffected or very little affected by shape.

  • The temperature has an impact on a material's strength. The material's elasticity changes with temperature. At higher temperatures, it becomes ductile, while at lower temperatures, it becomes brittle. Consequently, the strength variation is also observed with the temperature variation.

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