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Ductility Definition

There are numerous elements, metals, and non-metals around us; few of them have been discovered by scientists, and there are many to be discovered; students from a science background can easily relate to the topic, but those who are not from a scientific background and those who don't have adequate knowledge regarding the properties and special features of metals and non-metals, even they can easily relate the topic in this article.

There are various metals and non-metals around us, and they possess some physical and chemical properties that make them unique from others. Their properties make them useful for society because they help in solving various problems, and at the same time, they deduct the overall cost of production. In this article, we discuss "Ductility," which is one of the physical properties of some natural metals found in the nature.

What is Ductility?

As mentioned above, this is the physical property found in metals that help them to stretch until it reaches it's breaking point, unlike other metals that break down into pieces even if a small amount of Force is applied over them.

If metal is malleable, applying the Force of a given newton (SI unit of Force) on metal will expand rather than break it into pieces. If a metal has the property to become ductile, then we can mold it into a thin wire by stretching and beating.

Ductility Definition

As it is clear from the image shown above what ductility is and what it looks like, in the given image, there is a metal (Copper) that is extracted in its raw form that is not at all thin and appears like a wire, on the other side of the image we saw a wire is made from the same metal that is shown on the left side, this is possible just because that element possesses ductility property, and when it is hammered or beaten then rather than breaking it transform into thin wire, that can be used in houses and industries to conduct electricity.

If metal is ductile, it doesn't mean we can transform it into a wire of our desired length because every metal has a fixed breaking point. If we apply a force (in Newton) greater than their breaking point, the metal will break down into pieces; unlike other metals, every metal has its different breaking point. A few examples of metals that possess Ductility properties along with their breaking points are as follows:

  • Gold (AU), which has a ductility of 0.93, is considered the most ductile metal; that's why it is very easy for jewelers to make gold ornaments.
  • Lead (Pb) has a ductility of 0.93, almost similar to gold (Au).
  • Copper (Cu) has a ductility of 0.62 and is the most used element or metal in industries and houses; we will further discuss it in the application part of this article.

What is Malleability?

We are also discussing "Malleability" in this article because there is a misconception regarding this property in many students, many students think that both Malleability and Ductility are similar and if a metal is Ductile, then it must be Malleable also, but this is completely wrong because both are different. However they both are the physical property of metals, but they are different in terms of the Force applied to them; if a metal possesses the Malleability property, then the Force applied over it is compressive stress; on the other hand, the Force applied on Ductile metals are Tensile stress, the only difference in both types of stress is that the compressive stress transforms the metal into a sheet. It can be folded easily into a roll; on the other side, tensile stress transforms the metal into foldable wire.

A few examples of metals that are malleable are as follows:

  • Gold (Au) is considered the most malleable metal and one of the most ductile metals.
  • Silver (Ag) is another example of a metal that is malleable as well as ductile.
  • Aluminum (Al) is also malleable as well as ductile.

Real-Life Application of Metals Having this Property

There are various practical applications of metals that possess "Ductility" that are mentioned as follows:

  1. Everyone has a desire for wearing gold jewelry, and we see various designs of gold ornament at the time of buying; this is a stunning fact regarding gold that if it doesn't possess physical properties like "Ductility" and "Malleability," then it is merely impossible for the goldsmiths to prepare an ornament out of gold because it can't be molded into thin wire and sheets, in that case, the gold jewelry prepared is so heavy that women can't wear normal earing and a nose pin because that will be so heavy to wear that it will lead to a physical injury.
  2. The Copper (Cu) wire that is usually used in our homes for electric fitting is just because it possesses the physical property "Ductility," which is responsible for giving it a proper wire-like shape out of its raw form as we see the image that is shown above clearly signifies its Ductility property if Copper (Cu) does not possess this physical property then it will be very difficult for us to make proper wiring and electric connection in our houses. However, we can't say that it is impossible to establish wiring and electric connections because various other metals perform the same task as copper (Cu). Still, the only difference came when it came to affordability, strength, durability, and various other factors, where copper (Cu) stood first in comparison to other metals like silver (Ag) and aluminum (Al).
  3. Aluminum possesses various properties that make it unique and affordable, such as its slim profile, Durable, Low maintenance, Anti Corrosive, Light yet Strong, Available in anodized and baked with long-lasting finishing color, water resistance, and salt and even air resistant, it is used daily as aluminum foil people. Kids used to take their meals by wrapping them over, it is very thin just because it is malleable, and that's why it is converted into a very thin sheet that can be easily used for domestic purposes. We have also seen that aluminum utensils are much cheaper, so people often use them to store wheat, rice, barley, and more. Even in low temperatures where steel shows some brittle nature, aluminum stands firm and doesn't lose strength.

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