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Are Elastic And Plastic Same?

Difference Between Elastic and Plastic

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Both, elastic and plastic materials are widely applicable and used in the field of science and technology. Many of us wonder are elastic and plastic same? Thus, it is easier to understand these properties in terms of physics.

Are Elastic And Plastic Same

Generally, the terms ‘plastic’ and ‘elastic’ are physical properties, used to describe an object. They describe the attributes of materials such as rubber, plastic, metal, etc. In physics, when an external force is applied to the surface of any material or a body, the material undergoes a physical change or deformation. Now, when the force is removed, the material depending on its properties may or may not return to its original shape.

Now, if the body returns to its original shape, the body is said to be elastic in nature, and this property is called ‘elasticity’. On the other hand, if the body does regain its original shape, the body displays plastic nature, and this property is termed as ‘plasticity’. Based on the above explanation, it becomes easier to define the two properties, and state the difference between them.

The ‘elastic limit’ of a body is defined as the maximum extent to which a solid may be stretched without permanent deformation. This property can be easily explained on the basis of Hooke’s law. The law states that the elasticity of that material depends on the ratio of the stress and strain acting on the body.

Are Elastic And Plastic Same

It means, if the applied stress is linear or equal to the strain on the body, then the body is under elastic limit, and is elastic in nature. But, when the force or stress on the body increases and the elastic limit is broken, the body becomes deformed and turns plastic in nature. This limit is known as the yield strength of the material, wherein an elastic body turns plastic in nature.

Plasticity is defined as the ability of a body to change its shape and size permanently, when an external force is applied. In a plastic body, when a force is applied, from the many layers of atoms, two of these layers slide from their crystal planes, and lose their elastic limit, which causes the deformation in the body.

Based on the above explanation, one can say that a change in these properties only happen, when a body undergoes elastic deformation to enter plastic deformation. Thus, it can be said that both these properties are interrelated.

Difference Between Elastic and Plastic

The main differences between plastic and elastic are

CriteriaPlasticElastic
DefinitionThe property on account of which a body does not regain its original size and shape on removal of applied force is called a plastic body.The property on account of which a body regains its original size and shape on removal of external deforming force is called an elastic body.
ProcessIt is irreversible.It is reversible.
DuctilityThey are highly ductile in nature.They are less ductile in nature.
ResilienceThey have low yield strength.They have high yield strength.
Modulus of elasticity (ratio)The ratio of stress to strain is high.The ratio of stress to strain is low or equal.
ToughnessThey do not have the ability to absorb energy up to a fracture.They have the ability to absorb energy up to a fracture.
BondsThe molecular bonds are fractured.The molecular bonds do not get fractured.
Shape and SizeThe shape and size changes permanently.The shape and size do not change permanently.
ExamplePlasticineRubber

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