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Mechanical properties

Er. Parbhakar Dwivedi


Following terms in connection with the common mechanical properties of building materials are defined and explained:

    (1) Abrasion 2) Creep (3) Elasticity (4) Fatigue 5) Hardness (6) Impact strength (7) Plasticity and brittleness (8) Strength (9) Wear.

(i) Abrasion: The resistance of a material to the abrasion is found out by dividing the difference in weights of specimens prior to and after abrasion with the area of abrasion.

(2) Creep: In many applications, the building materials are required to sustain steady loads for long periods. Under such conditions, the material may continue to deform until its usefulness is seriously reduced. Such time-dependent deformation of a structure can grow large and may even result in final fracture without any increase in load. If the deformation continues even when the load is constant, Most of the building materials creep to a certain extent at all temperatures. However the engineering metals such as steel, aluminium and copper creep very little at room temperature. The high temperatures lead to rapid creep which is often accompanied by microstructural changes. The phenomena of creep is important in polymers at room temperature, in alloys of aluminium at 100'C and in steels above 300 C.

(3) Elasticity: When a load is applied to a material, there is change in its shape and dimension. The term elasticity is used to indicate the ability of a material to restore its initial form and dimensions after the load is removed, the difference between the following two terms should be note

(i) Fatigue: When the materials are subjected to a repetitive or fluctuating stress, they will fail at a stress much lower than that required to cause fracture under steady loads. This behaviour is called the fatigue and it is distinguished by the following three features:

(i) increased uncertainty in strength and service life;

(ii) Loss of ductility; and

(iii) Loss of strength.

(5) Hardness: The ability of a material to resist penetration by a harder body is known as its hardness. It is a major factor in deciding the workability and use of a material for floors and road surfaces. The hardness is not a fundamental property but it is a combined effect of compressive, elastic and plastic properties relative to the mode of penetration. Shape of penetrator, etc

(6) Impact strength: The impact strength of a material is the quantity of work required to cause its failure per its unit volume. It thus indicates the toughness of a material and the materials are tested in an impact testing machine to determine their impact strength.

(7) Plasticity and brittleness The term plasticity of a material is defined as its ability to change its shape under load without cracking and to retain its shape after the removal of load.

(8) Strength: The ability of a material to resist failure under the action of stresses caused by a load is known as its strength. The loads to which a material is commonly subjected to are compression, tension and bending. The corresponding strength is obtained by dividing the ultimate load with the cross-sectional area of the specimen

(9) Wear: The failure of a material under the combined actions of abrasion and impact is known as its wear. The wear resistance is usually expressed as a percentage of loss in weight and it is of great importance in deciding the suitability of a material for use of road surfaces, railway ballast, etc.


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