Types of Metal Strength

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Whether metal is used to make tools, build skyscrapers, or lay railways, strength is an essential consideration when deciding which metal best suits the job. Strength varies from metal to metal and from application to application. As such, there are several different measures of strength to think about when evaluating metal material options.

Here we’ll take a look at some of the different ways metal strength is measured:

Tensile Strength

Tensile strength is the maximum amount of stretching or pulling a metal can withstand before it fails or is permanently damaged. Essentially, tensile strength is the measure of how much tension the metal can resist. It serves as a good point of reference for how a metal part will perform in an application.

There are three types of tensile strength:

  • Yield strength is the stress point at which metal begins to deform plastically.
  • Ultimate strength describes the maximum amount of stress a metal can endure.
  • Breakable strength is the stress coordinate on the stress-strain curve at the point of failure.

A metal’s plasticity refers to the deformation of the material while it undergoes permanent changes as a result of applied forces. In the case of metal, ‘applied forces’ can include bending or pounding actions.

Once the yield point is passed, some of the resulting deformation is permanent and non-reversible. Prior to yield, there is elasticity deformation where a material is deformed under stress but returns to its original state once the stress is removed.

Among commonly used metal alloys, stainless steel and tempered structural aluminum have relatively high tensile strengths: 90,000 and 45,000 PSI, respectively.  

Impact Strength
Impact strength is a measure of how much impact or suddenly applied force a metal can take before it fails. The impact load and the limit that the metal can withstand are both expressed in terms of energy. So, essentially, impact strength measures the amount of energy that a metal can absorb before it fractures.

Compressive Strength
As its name implies, compressive strength is the maximum amount of pressure or compression a metal can withstand. This is typically measured with a universal testing machine that applies an increased load on the material.

And for your reference, here’s a strength comparison chart:

Aluminum

 Tensile Strength (PSI)Yield Strength (PSI)
A36 Structural Angle, Flat, Rod, Beam58-80,00036,000
Sheet 1011 CS Type B 53,000 30-50,000
Sheet Grade 50 65,000 50,000
1018 Cold Rolled Shaft 70-80,00045-70,000
1045 TG&P Cold Rolled Shaft100,00085,000
Stressproof115,000100,000
4140/4142 Annealed Cold Rolled Shaft105-120,000 85-95,000
4140/4142 Heat Treated Cold Rolled Shaft 125,000 105,000

Stainless Steel

 Tensile Strength (PSI)Yield Strength (PSI)
Brass49-68,00018-45,000

Steel

 Part NumberOverallMachine ThreadWood Screw
Option AHB-A1 1/2"5/8"7/8"
Option BHB-B2 1/2"1"1 1/2"
Option CHB-C4"2"2"

Brass

Part No.Dia. (A)Height (B)
SO-SS-1CAP1"3/8 Total (3/16" Exposed)
SO-SS-1.25CAP1 1/4"3/8 Total (3/16" Exposed)
SO-SS-1.5CAP1 1/2"3/8 Total (3/16" Exposed)
SO-SS-2CAP2"3/8 Total (3/16" Exposed)

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