metal into thin sheets. Lead is a highly malleable
Strength is the property of a metal that enables it
to resist strain (deformation) when a stress (load) is
applied. Strength may be expressed by several
different terms. The most common term is tensile
crack when it has not been deformed. Generally, the
strength, or the maximum force required to pull metal
harder a metal, the more brittle it is, and vice versa.
apart. To find tensile strength, divide the force
Pot metal and cast iron are examples of brittle metals.
required to pull the metal apart by the area in square
inches of a prepared specimen.
Another term used to describe the strength of a
metal is yield strength, which you will determine
Toughness is the ability of a metal to withstand
during the test for tensile strength. Yield strength is
shock, to endure stress, and to deform without
established when the metal specimen begins to stretch
breaking. A tough metal is not easily separated or cut
while pressure is gradually applied. There is often a
and can be bent first in one direction and then in the
relationship between the tensile strength and the
opposite without fracturing.
hardness of metals. As the hardness of a metal is
increased, the tensile strength is also increased, and
vice versa. Charts provide these values for the more
Hardness of a metal is generally defined as its
commonly used metals.
ability to resist indentation, abrasion or wear, and
cutting. The degree of hardness of many metals may
be either increased or decreased by one or more
heat-treatment processes. In most cases, as the
hardness of a steel is decreased, its toughness is
extensive permanent deformation without breaking or
rupturing. Modeling clay is an example of a highly
plastic material, since it can be deformed extensively
and permanently without rupturing. Metals with high
plasticity will produce long, continuous chips when
Hardenability is a measure of the depth (from the
machined on a lathe.
metal's surface toward its center) to which a metal can
be hardened by heat treatment. A metal that achieves
a shallow depth of hardness and retains a relatively
soft and tough core has low hardenability. The
Elasticity is the ability of a metal to return to its
hardenability of some metals changes by adding
original size and shape after an applied force has been
certain alloys during manufacturing.
removed. The action of spring steel is an example of
applying this property.
Fatigue is the action that takes place in a metal
after repeated stress. When you break a sample in a
Ductility is the ability of a metal to be permanently
tensile machine, you need to apply a definite load to
deformed when it is bent or stretched into wire form
cause that fracture. However, the same material will
without breaking. To find the ductility of a metal,
fail under a much smaller load if you apply and
apply the tensil strength test and measure the
remove the load many times. Fatigue may cause a
percentage of increased length. Copper is an example
shaft to break after months of use even though the
of a very ductile metal.
load has not been changed.
withstand surface attack by the atmosphere, fluids,
permanently deformed by a compression stress
moisture, and acids. Some metals can be made less
produced by hammering, stamping, or rolling the