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Properties of Materials

Last updated date: 25th Feb 2024
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What is Material?

The substance or mixture of substances that make up the thing is referred to as the material. Based on their biological basis, materials can be classified as alive or nonliving. When there are no foreign materials or impurities in a material, it is said to be pure. When there are foreign materials or impurities in a substance, it is said to be impure. The majority of the materials we encounter in our daily lives are unique. They are distinguished by many characteristics including as hardness, transparency, and appearance.

Properties of Materials

We see a variety of shapes, sizes, colours, and compositions all around us. Metal, paper, wood, plastic, and a variety of other materials are examples. Each item is made up of a variety of materials that help to define it. We can choose the type of material to use for object manufacture based on our needs. When one substance is mixed with another, it creates a unique material with specific qualities.

Mechanical Properties of Materials

The mechanical properties of materials define how they behave when subjected to external forces known as loads. The mechanical properties of metals are governed by the metal's spectrum of usefulness and determine the expected service. Mechanical properties can also be used to assist identify and specify metals. Strength, hardness, ductility, brittleness, toughness, stiffness, and impact resistance are the most typical qualities studied.

The mechanical properties of materials are listed below.

  • Strength

  • Elasticity

  • Plasticity

  • Hardness

  • Toughness

  • Brittleness

  • Stiffness

  • Ductility

  • Malleability

  • Cohesion

  • Impact strength

  • Fatigue

  • Creep

Magnetic Properties of Materials

The response of a substance to an applied magnetic field is referred to as magnetic property. The interactions between an external magnetic field and the magnetic dipole moments of the constituent atoms determine a material's macroscopic magnetic characteristics. The application of a magnetic field has various effects on different materials. The most well-known effects occur in ferromagnetic materials, which are highly attracted to magnetic fields and can be magnetised to become permanent magnets that generate magnetic fields. Ferromagnetic compounds are extremely rare. Iron, cobalt, and nickel, as well as their alloys, are the most frequent.

5 Magnetic Properties of Materials are:

  • Intensity of magnetisation

  • Magnetic Field (H) or Magnetic intensity

  • Magnetic susceptibility

  • Retentivity

  • Coercivity

Optical Properties of Materials

A material's optical characteristics determine how it interacts with light. Optical properties are required in a variety of industrial and scientific applications, including contactless temperature measurement, modelling, heat transfer, laser technology, optics (mirrors, lenses, and optical windows), energy, construction, photovoltaic industry, aerospace industry, and many others.

Elastic Properties of Materials

Elasticity is the quality that allows deformed materials to recover to their original shape and size.

The highest stress that may be given to a substance before it becomes permanently distorted and does not return to its original length is known as the elastic limit.

Dielectric Properties of Materials

When exposed to an external electric field, dielectric characteristics of materials are defined as a molecular property that is basic in all materials capable of imminent electron migration resulting in polarisation inside the material.

Properties of Dielectric Material

The dielectric materials have the following characteristics:

  • The dielectric materials have a significant energy gap.

  • The insulating resistance is high and the temperature coefficient of resistance is negative.

  • The resistivity of the dielectric materials is high.

  • The electrons' attraction to the parent nucleus is quite strong.

  • As there are no free electrons to transport current, the electrical conductivity of these materials is extremely poor.

Physical Properties of Materials

Physical attributes of materials are those that may be examined without affecting the material's identity. Metals have physical qualities such as density, colour, size and shape, specific gravity, porosity, and so on. Some of these are described in the table below. Physical properties of materials should be understood.

Mechanical Properties of Materials Table


The mechanical property of strength is the ability of a metal to resist deformation load.

The capacity of a substance to survive destruction under the action of external loads is its strength.


When a stress or load is released, a material's elasticity is defined as its ability to return to its original position after deformation.


A material's plasticity refers to its capacity to deform permanently without rupturing (brittle).


The ability of a substance to withstand scratching, abrasion, cutting, or piercing is measured by its hardness.


It is a material's quality that allows it to tolerate shock or impact.

Brittleness is the opposite of toughness.


Brittleness is a material quality that allows it to endure permanent deformation.

Brittle materials include cast iron and glass.


The stiffness of a material is its resistance to distortion or deflection due to elastic deformation.

A material with a high degree of stiffness is one that deforms only slightly under load.


A material's ductility is a property that allows it to be drawn out into a thin wire.

A ductile substance is something like mild steel, copper, or aluminium.


A material's malleability refers to its ability to be hammered or rolled into sheets of various sizes and forms.

Malleable metals include aluminium, copper, tin, and lead, among others.


A solid body's cohesiveness is a quality that prevents it from being broken down into fragments.


The purposes for which a material can be utilised are determined by its qualities. Strength, flexibility, heat, and electrical conductivity are some of the qualities of materials, as are their boiling and melting points. Other criteria, like as cost, colour, and texture, determine the suitability of a material for a particular application. The way we use materials and the techniques we use to make them have an environmental impact.

FAQs on Properties of Materials

1. Define dielectric Strength.

Ans: It is a material attribute that demonstrates the material's ability to endure high voltages. It is usually used to express the operating voltage of insulating materials. 

2. Define density of materials?

Ans: One of the most fundamental physical qualities of any substance is density. The density of a material is defined as the mass per unit volume. It is defined as the mass-to-volume ratio of a substance. The letter "p" stands for it. In the SI system, it is measured in kilogrammes per square metre. Because most designs are constrained by size or weight, density plays a crucial role in many computations.

3. How mechanical properties may be tested?

Ans: The following methods can be used to test mechanical properties:

Hardness Testing – Vickers, Rockwell, and Nanoindentation are examples of hardness testing.

Compression and Fatigue Testing – involves material testing, such as plastic, steel, or aluminium, as well as tensile strength testing.

Scratch Adhesion Testing – Typically used to meet coating standards, this test analyses adhesive failure and strength.

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