Properties of Metals

Instructions: Follow the tabs to improve your reading comprehension and vocabulary development.

WHY STUDY The Mechanical Properties of Metals?

It is incumbent on engineers to understand how the various mechanical properties are measured and what these properties represent; they may be called upon to design structures/components using predetermined materials such that unacceptable levels of deformation and/or failure will not occur.

Forces and Loads

Many materials are subjected to forces or loads when in service; examples include the aluminum alloy from which an airplane wing is constructed and the steel in an automobile axle. In such situations it is necessary to know the characteristics of the material and to design the member from which it is made such that any resulting deformation will not be excessive and fracture will not occur. The mechanical behavior of a material reflects its response or deformation in relation to an applied load or force. Key mechanical design properties are stiffness, strength, hardness, ductility, and toughness.


Callister, W. D., & Rethwisch, D. G. (2018). Materials science and engineering: An introduction. Wiley.