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What is Elasticity?

by Team Goseeko


The property of matter by virtue of which it regains its original shape and size, when deforming forces have been removed is called elasticity.

To know more about elasticity let us look at atomic level. As solids are consists of atoms or molecules. However, these atoms are held together by inter atomic forces. When an external force is applied these particles are displaced and result in the deformation of the solid. When the applied force is removed inter atomic forces drive the atoms to regain their state of equilibrium.

In reality no material is perfectly elastic. For example, if you use a hair rubber band to tie your hair. You will notice after some time the rubber band loses its elasticity. You may also have noticed that even our hair shows deformation from its original shape. When we put hair in a particular style for a long time, it tends to deform. This is because the tie hair eventually loses its elastic nature.

Elastic Limit

Most solid materials show elastic behaviour to a lesser or greater extent. For any given material there exists a limit to the magnitude of the force and the associated deformation within which elastic recovery is possible. This limit is the elastic limit. 

We can define it as the maximum value of stress within a solid material that can arise before the beginning of permanent deformation. The elastic limit tells the end of elastic behaviour and the beginning of plastic behaviour.

Stress beyond the elastic limit causes a material to yield or flow. Stresses beyond the elastic limit result in fracture with almost no plastic deformation for most brittle materials. Different materials show different elastic behaviour. 

Factors Affecting Elasticity

It comes into view that bodies lose their elastic limit due to elastic fatigue. Therefore, the manufacturer should choose the material in such a way that it should regain its elastic property. Even for the case when the material is under a high stress. For example substances like quartz, phosphor, bronze etc. Apart from elastic fatigue, some materials will have change in their elastic property because of the following factors.

  • Effect of stress
  • Effect of annealing
  • Hammering and Rolling
  • Temperature
  • Effect of  impurities
  • Effect of nature of crystals

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