Ductility vs Brittleness
Ductility and brittleness are two of the most important physical properties of materials in construction engineering. Ductility of a material is its ability to deform when a tensile force is applied upon it. It is also referred to as the ability of a substance to withstand plastic deformation without undergoing rupture. Brittleness, on the other hand is exactly an opposite property of ductility as it is the ability of a material to break without first undergoing any kind of deformation upon application of force. There are many who cannot understand the differences between ductility and brittleness and this article is meant to explain the differences between these two important properties of substances.
We experience these properties of materials in our daily lives. We say that our nails are very brittle as they snap easily. Women are especially seen disturbed by the brittleness of their nails and hair and try out treatments to improve plasticity of their important assets. In physics, materials that elongate or deform up to 5% are said to be ductile and some examples of ductile materials are gold, silver, and copper. On the other hand, brittle materials give way and snap without any notice and do no undergo any deformation. Some good examples are cast iron and concrete.
One can think of ductile materials as bendable and crushable. Have you seen how ductile a rubber band is as you can stretch it long enough before it finally snaps as it cannot bear the tensile force you are applying? On the other hand, the potato chip or a biscuit that you eat is extremely brittle as it cannot withstand the slightest of forces. Therefore it is prudent to say that if a material is not ductile, it is brittle. In construction industry, if we have to choose between two materials having same hardness and strength, we go for one that has higher ductility as it will be more long lasting. Ductility is a property that is affected by temperature. Increase in temperature is seen to increase ductility and a decrease in temperature reduces ductility and can even change a substance from being ductile into a brittle material.
Impurities also tend to make a material brittle. So if a brittle material is what is required addition of impurities is resorted to, to make a material more brittle. Most of the glasses and ceramic material are extremely brittle. This is why scientists try to increase the hardness and strength of such materials to prevent their breaking easily. Fracture is perhaps the most important concept in the field of material science and engineering. It is defined as the ability of a material to break into pieces when an external force is applied upon it.
Difference Between Ductility and Brittleness
• Ductility is the ability of a material to withstand tensile force when it is applied upon it as it undergoes plastic deformation
• Brittleness is the opposite of ductility as it refers to the ability of materials to break into pieces upon application of tensile force without any elongation or plastic deformation
• Glasses and ceramics are considered brittle whereas gold and silver are ductile materials.
• Ductility allows wires to be drawn of materials
• Increase in temperature increases ductility while addition of impurities decreases ductility