Elastic Deformation

Definition - What does Elastic Deformation mean?

Elastic deformation refers to a temporary deformation of a material's shape that is self-reversing after removing the force or load. Elastic deformation alters the shape of a material upon the application of a force within its elastic limit. This physical property ensures that elastic materials will regain their original dimensions following the release of the applied load. Here deformation is reversible and non-permanent. Elastic deformation of metals and ceramics is commonly seen at low strains; their elastic behavior is generally linear.

Corrosionpedia explains Elastic Deformation

When metals are placed under small loads or stresses, they deform. When the applied loads are removed, metals return to their original shape. This temporary deformation of metals is known as elastic deformation. Elastic deformation involves the temporary stretching or bending of bonds between atoms. For example, when bending a steel sheet, the bonds are bent or stretched only a few percent but the atoms do not slip past each other. Elastic deformation can be caused by applying shear forces or tension / compression stress. In contrast, plastic deformation occurs when these stresses are sufficient to permanently deform the metal. In plastic deformation, breaking of bonds is caused by the dislocation of atoms.

The elastic deformation of material allows them to recover from stress and restore their normal functionality. But these properties degrade over time and in some conditions the material can become brittle and lose their ductility. Materials become less pliable when cold or subjected to hardening chemicals that interfere with their elasticity.

To retain or increase a material's elasticity, some softening materials are added to the mix. For example, special softening materials can be added to the polymer plastics mix to allow them to bend and give under pressure without permanently changing their shape.

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