Definition - What does Brittleness mean?

Brittleness is a property of metals which states that they do not deform under load but suddenly break. It is basically the tendency of metals or a material to fracture or break even upon the application of small impact, force or shock. A material if brittle breaks when subjected to stress without any significant deformation or strain. The brittle materials absorb less energy from to their breakage or fracture, even when the materials have high strength. Most glasses, ceramic and some polymers are included in brittle materials like polystyrene and PMMA.

Petropedia explains Brittleness

Brittleness, in materials science, is basically applied to the materials which fail in the presence of little or no evidence of plastic deformation before fracture. When the materials, reach a limit of their strength, they usually have an option of either fracture or deformation. A brittle strength of any material is increased by pressure. The non-brittle steel also becomes brittle when at low temperatures based on their processing and composition. A metal that is naturally malleable is made stronger by obstructing mechanics of the plastic deformation. But, if it is pushed to the extreme, fracture becomes the outcome and material becomes brittle.

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