Difference between elasticity and plasticity

Elasticity and plasticity both of them are discussed under material science while designing any components or parts. Elasticity is a property of a material that allows it to deform reversibly and resume its normal shape after being stretched or compressed thus is a physical property. Plasticity is a property of a material that allows it to deform irreversibly thus plasticity is also a physical property of matter. Now, let us have a deep insight into the comparison between elasticity and plasticity.  

Main difference : 

The main difference between them is that elasticity causes reversible deformation of matter whereas plasticity causes irreversible deformation of matter. In polymer chemistry, elastomer show elasticity while thermoplastics shows plasticity. 

The difference between elasticity and plasticity is following below. 

  • Elasticity is the ability of a metal to regain its original shape after temporary deformation under the external forces while plasticity is the ability to retain the deformation permanently even after the load is removed.
  • The amount of elastic deformation is very small while there is relatively more plastic deformation. 
  • Metal atoms are temporarily displaced from their original position during elastic deformation and return when the load is removed while metal atoms are permanently displaced from their original position in plastic deformation and take up new positions.
  • For the majority of the material, the stress-strain relationship is linear in the elastic range while non-linear in the plastic range.
  • Elasticity is an important consideration in components of machine-tool while plasticity is desirable for components made by press working operation.