Types of Strength

In material science, strength of materials refers to the ability to withstand stress without breaking. There are different types of strength which are defined by the type of stress they can withstand. In this article, we will introduce you to the most common types of strengths, meaning the types of strengths that are most reflective of the amont of stress the component can endure during its application.

There are generally three of them:

Tensile Strengths

Tensile strength generally refers to the amount of stress components can tolerate until deforming permanently. There are two significant points in the stress-strain curve of materials: the yield point and UTS (ultimate tensile strength):

stress-strain-curve-ultimate tensile strength and yield point

Yield strength

As its name suggests, yield strength refers to the amount of stress at which a component starts to yield and deform permanently. The yield point, also known as elastic limit, is the point in the strain-stress curve at which a material deforms beyond the point of elasticity. Yield strength is then the maximum amount of stress than can be applied to a material until it reaches yield point.

Ultimate tensile strength

Ultimate tensile strength refers to the maximum amount of stress a metal can endure while being stretched. UTS can be determined by performing the tensile test, which also records the strain-stress curve. The highest point of the curve is known as the ultimate (tensile) strength and surpasses even the yield point. As a result, the component is stretched and elongated permantently.

Compressive strength

Contrary to tensile strength, compressive strength refers to the amount of stress a material can withstand while being pushed equally from sides, rather than pulled. If a component is put under stress that goes past its compressive strength limit, results can be brittle failure.

Shear strength

Shear strength is the maximum amount of compressive stress a component can withstand when subjected to two opposite forces that act on two different, tangential areas. The strain produced due to the shear stress is referred to as shear strain.



Material Yield strength (MPa) Ultimate tensile strength (MPa) Compressive strength (MPa) Shear strength (MPa)
Austenitic stainless steel 304 230 – 860 580 – 1180 205- 310 410 – 690
Martensitic stainless Steel 410 270 – 530 520 – 740 275 – 550 330 – 450
Austenitic stainless steel 310 260 – 350 600 – 710 205 – 310 420- 470
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