MEAM.Design - Materials - Material Properties


  • Price, most materials are priced by a standard volume or weight


  • Amount of stuff in a certain space or more technically Grams per cubic centimeter or Pounds per cubic inch

Flammability/ Combustability

  • Will this blow up in my face?


  • Should I be nervous about putting another material or liquid into or on my object?


  • The amount of stress it takes to deform a material plastically, is this going to act like silly puddy when I jump on it?


  • Standard term that usually refers to UTS or Ultimate Tensile Strength

Elasticity/ Stiffness

  • This is a term that relates directly to Young's Modulus or Modulus of elasticity, how much stress can I apply before my material begins to irreversibly deform.

Hardness (or hardenability)

  • This can be tested using a machine next to the Instron.


  • Basically the opposite of ducility is brittleness, cast iron is brittle and thus breaks in a very violent fashion. The main aspect of brittle materials is they usually have small Young's Moduli.


  • Can I run and current through this material? And if I do what will the resistance be?

Chemical stability (resistance to corrosion)

  • Most metals rust or Oxidize when exposed to normal air, and a lot of materials can be corroded, its always nice to know what you are working with especially if you are building something for outdoor use.


  • Ease of machining, this usually refers to traditional methods of machining i.e. using a mill or lathe.


  • Welding is a great tool in the arsenal of a machinist but some materials lack the correct properties to be welded.

Melting point

  • Temperature at which the material will begin to phase shift to liquid, usually measured in C or Kelvin.


  • This is a tricky property that describes how smooth the flow of a material is, lead is loved for its high fluidity and low melting point making it great for soldering.

Surface roughness

  • Some materials are smoother than others, this is a property that is pretty obvious when inspecting materials, however some materials can polish better than others based on their molecular and atomic structure.

Acoustic properties

  • The ability to either deflect of absorb compression waves in the air (sound) can either be a great property or an annoying one.


  • I think you can figure this one out :)