PHY 105 NOTE – This course is offered by OAU from faculty of science, college of health sciences.   This book contains notes on elasticity, factors affecting elasticity, calculations on elasticity, etc.

elasticity (from Greek ἐλαστός “ductible”) is the ability of a body to resist a distorting influence and to return to its original size and shape when that influence or force is removed. Solid objects will deform when adequate forces are applied to them. If the material is elastic, the object will return to its initial shape and size when these forces are removed.

The physical reasons for elastic behavior can be quite different for different materials. In metals, the atomic lattice changes size and shape when forces are applied (energy is added to the system). When forces are removed, the lattice goes back to the original lower energy state. For rubbers and other polymers, elasticity is caused by the stretching of polymer chains when forces are applied.

Perfect elasticity is an approximation of the real world. The most elastic body in modern science found is quartz fiber[c and phosphor bronze, but even this is not a perfect elastic body. The perfect elastic body is an ideal concept only. Most materials which possess elasticity in practice remain purely elastic only up to very small deformations. In engineering, the amount of elasticity of a material is determined by two types of material parameter. The first type of material parameter is called a modulus, which measures the amount of force per unit area needed to achieve a given amount of deformation. The SI unitof a modulus is the pascal (Pa). A higher modulus typically indicates that the material is harder to deform. The second type of parameter measures the elastic limit, the maximum stress that can arise in a material before the onset of permanent deformation. Its SI unit is also the pascal (Pa).

When describing the relative elasticities of two materials, both the modulus and the elastic limit have to be considered. Rubbers typically have a low modulus and tend to stretch a lot (that is, they have a high elastic limit) and so appear more elastic than metals (high modulus and low elastic limit) in everyday experience.

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