When studying materials and especially when choosing materials for a project / design, it is important to understand the key properties. The most important features are listed below.
The ability of a material to withstand applied forces without bending, breaking, splintering or deforming in any way.
Our Technology Technician (Ed) demonstrates the ‘strength’ of the material by performing a hand stand on a strong piece of wood (timber). It doesn’t even bend under his weight. For twenty years he has eaten pies and drunk large quantities of beer, and yet the solid material does not bend, bend or deform (change shape) in any way.
The ability of a material to absorb force and bend in different directions and return to its original position.
Our technology technician demonstrates the ‘elasticity’ of the material by bouncing it up and down on a piece of steel rod. Do not try this at home, it could cause an accident. Our technician Ed is an expert at demonstrating this feature because it’s his hobby.
The ability of a material to permanently change shape
Our technology technician and his twin demonstrate the ‘plasticity’ of molten aluminium by pouring it into a mold. Once the aluminium has cooled, it can be removed from the casting sand. It has a new shape.
Our technician is often seen cleaning up aluminium beverage cans in the trash cans. He then melts them down to form blocks (ingots) of aluminium to sell to scrap metal dealers
The ability of a material to change shape (deform) usually by stretching along its length.
Our technician stretches the lead over his head. How it stretches, if it deforms (changes shape).
Ed thinks he’s a strong man, but he doesn’t realize that lead is a very soft metal and stretches very easily. He performs these tricks in local pubs in an attempt to pass himself off as a ‘tough guy’
The ability of a material to stretch without breaking or cracking.
Our process technician demonstrates ‘tensile strength’ by stretching a piece of steel until it cracks. Ed thinks he’s incredibly strong. However, his friends at work substituted sausage instead of steel.
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