A substance that has a propensity to break readily or unexpectedly without any prior extension. Cast iron, concrete, high carbon steels, ceramics, and certain polymers, such as urea formaldehyde, are good examples (UF). Toughness's polar opposite. These substances do not break easily, but rather they are broken by other forces such as heat or impact.
Substances that break easily include glass, wood, paper, leather, silk, wool, asphalt, mercury, zinc, and platinum (although this last one is more of an alloy than a single material).
The term "brittle" is often used to describe materials that break easily. However, there are many types of brittle materials, so it is important to identify the type of breakage being discussed. If a cast iron pot is dropped from a height of one meter, it will break into several pieces because cast iron is a brittle material. But if you drop a piece of glass of the same size, it will break into even smaller pieces because glass is also called a fragile material. As we saw earlier, toughness is a measure of resistance to breaking. So, in terms of breaking easily, iron is tougher than glass.
It should be noted that both iron and glass are considered rigid materials; therefore, they will not break unless forced apart with pressure. This means that neither one of them is prone to breaking.
Brittle materials include bone, cast iron, porcelain, and concrete. Ductile materials have relatively broad plastic zones under tensile stress. Aluminum and copper are examples of ductile materials. When a force is applied to a brittle material, it will break before it gives way completely. This example shows that the material is brittle.
Concrete, one of the most common brittle materials, is both solid and flexible when fresh. Over time, it becomes dry and hardening of the cement begins to slow down the rate at which it can be cut or broken. However, concrete remains concrete even after it has hardened; it cannot be transformed into another substance. This example shows that concrete is a brittle material.
Cast iron, while strong, can also be brittle depending on its age and how it was made. If it was not properly cooled after being molten, then it would be hot enough to burn your skin if you touched it. Otherwise, it could break if a large force were applied to it from without or within.
Glass is a brittle material that is used in many products we use every day. It can be smooth or textured, clear or colored, but it always remains glass until it is changed into something else by melting or some other process. Glasses are melted down for use in crafts, jewelry-making, and art projects.
A material is called semi-brittle if it has an intermediate degree of brittleness between ductile and fragile materials.
Fragile materials such as glass have a very narrow plastic zone under tension. They will break into many small pieces or thin strips before they fail by stretching too far. Rock crystal and asbestos are examples of fragile materials.
What causes certain substances to be more brittle than others? Brittle substances have higher concentrations of molecular bonds that can be broken under tension. The stronger the concentration of molecular bonds, the more rigid the substance. Highly rigid molecules cannot be deformed without first breaking their chemical bonds. This makes them difficult to work with because any force applied to them will cause them to break. For example, try bending a piece of glass. It will break easily when struck by a hammer.
Substances that are not highly rigid can be bent without breaking. Such molecules can be worked with much more easily. For example, rubber bands can be stretched out and then allowed to return to their original shape without breaking.
It is the ability to readily break, shatter, or snap. Glass is an example of a material with this property. It can be broken into small sharp pieces that are easy to handle and store. Some other materials that have this property are ceramics and some types of stone.
Some materials have this property because they are fragile. If you drop something made of glass on a hard surface, it will break. The glass has been proven to be safe for human contact after it has been shattered. However, if you were to drop a ceramic dish on a hard floor, it could potentially break into smaller pieces that might not be safe for human contact.
Other materials that have this property are steel and titanium. These materials can be broken easily with little effort required by the user. They also tend to be very brittle.
Finally, there are materials that have this property because they're super strong. Sandstone is an example of this type of material. It can only be scratched or marked with difficulty because of its strength. It would take a lot of force to break sandstone.
All in all, materials that have this property are easy to handle, don't contain much content, and can be broken easily with little effort.
Strong materials can withstand strong blows and absorb and transmit significant quantities of energy without breaking. The flexibility of a material has no detrimental impact on its strength since even the bendiest materials that resist fracture are technically quite strong without being very robust. In fact, metals such as steel and titanium are extremely strong despite having relatively low density. Conversely, weak materials cannot with stand up under normal conditions. They will break or deform before any substantial load is placed upon them.
The two main types of failure for solid objects are fragmentation and collapse. Fragmentation occurs when a piece of the object breaks off from the rest of the body and remains separate. This is usually due to an imperfect weld, and most metal objects that suffer from this problem can be repaired by welding or other methods that create a sound bond between the pieces. Collapse happens when the whole body of the object fails en masse with little or no part remaining intact. Most materials used in construction techniques such as brick or wood allow some degree of flexing or bending without failing. A structure made out of these materials will typically only fail when it is loaded beyond what it can tolerate.
Strength can also be described in terms of resistance to fatigue, damage, and corrosion. Fatigue refers to the gradual deterioration of mechanical properties caused by repeated loading (such as when riding in a car).
Brittle: hard but readily broken or shattered. Brittle materials are used in many arts, including jewelry-making, sculpture, and craft work. They have uses as well for tools and weapons. Some examples of brittle materials include glass, ceramic, and stone. These substances are called "brittle" because they can be broken into small pieces easily if impacted strongly enough. Brittle objects are not dangerous to live with or eat because there is no risk of them breaking into sharp pieces that could cut you.
Tough: resistant to damage or destruction. Tough materials can be damaged by heat, cold, moisture, chemicals, and mechanical forces such as punching, cutting, and grinding. However, they will recover after being treated properly. Examples of tough materials include leather, fur, bone, cartilage, muscle, silk, and wood.
Stiff: having the property of resisting bending or flexing. Stiff materials do not usually need to be supported while working with them because they tend to retain their shape even when pressed into another object. Stiff materials include metal alloys, plastic, rubber, and glass.
Hard: requiring considerable force to deform or destroy.