30 November 2023

The branches of knowledge of chemistry, physics and mechanics are dedicated to the examination of the elastic capacity of bodies. The elastic characteristic, which allows elongation without deformation Thanks to its elasticity constant, it is the object of study in these areas. This virtue is not exclusive to inanimate objects, since even human beings also possess it to a greater or lesser extent.

Elasticity can be important for ensure durability, strength and quality of the products or components used in the delivery of services. An adequate elasticity can contribute to customer satisfaction and the efficiency of the service provided. The most intriguing thing about this feature is that regardless of the force applied, the deformation is temporary. The ability of a body to return to its original state it is what puts its highest degree of elasticity to the test. If you are interested in learning more about elasticity and its applications, keep reading!

Meaning of elasticity in chemistry

In chemistry, elasticity refers to the ability of materials to recover their original shape and size after being subjected to temporary deformation, that is, without causing permanent deformation. The elasticity is due to the intermolecular forces that act between the particles of the material and to the molecular structure of the same.

The elasticity constant, also known as modulus of elasticity, is a measure of the stiffness of a material and is defined as the ratio between the applied stress and the resulting strain. The greater the elasticity constant, the greater the stiffness of the material and the less deformable it will be. On the other hand, if the elasticity constant is low, the material will be more flexible and deformable.

Several authors have made important contributions to the study of elasticity in different areas of knowledge. These are:

  • Robert hookeEnglish physicist and mathematician who formulated the Hooke’s law.
  • Isaac NewtonEnglish scientist who developed the laws of mechanics, which are fundamental in the study of elasticity.
  • Augustin-Louis CauchyFrench mathematician, contributed to the development of the theory of elasticity in the 19th century.
  • leonhard eulerSwiss mathematician who made important contributions to the stress calculation and deformations in elastic bodies.
  • daniel bernoulliSwiss mathematician and physicist, worked in the field of the elasticity of materials.
  • Paul LangevinFrench physicist who developed theoretical models for the description of the elasticity of polymers and other materials.
  • Thomas YoungEnglish physicist and physician who made important contributions to the study of the elasticity of materials, including the measurement of Young’s modulus.
  • James Clerk MaxwellScottish physicist and mathematician who developed mathematical models for the description of elasticity in solids and liquids.

They are all just some of the many authors who have contributed to the study of elasticity in different areas of science and engineering.

How is elasticity produced?

Elasticity is a concept that is applied in various areas, such as chemistry, physics and mechanics, where it is produced from external forces acting on a deformable solid. This gives rise to the production of resistances that agglomerate in matter and generate elastic potential energy.

How does elasticity work as a property of matter?

In the field of chemistry, the term ‘elasticity’ is attributed to the ability of an object or material to stretch and regain its original shape after a deformation. This concept is similar in physics, where elasticity refers to a property of matter in which it can undergo deformations due to external forces, but then return to its original shape.

If a material cannot recover its shape after deformation, it is considered “inelastic“. Hooke’s Law is used to study the elasticity and originated in the 17th century when Robert Hooke He was looking at a spring and noticed that the force required to deform it was proportional to the amplitude of the deformation.

The formula of the Hooke’s law is F = -Kx, where “F” is the force, “x” is the extension, and “K” is the constant of proportionality. Elasticity can also be related to the potential energy of elasticity, which is calculated by the formula Ep(x) = 1/2 Kx²and is related to the force of elasticity.

What are the types of elasticity that exist in chemistry?

Some are described below common types of elasticity in chemistry:

  • volumetric elasticity: It is the ability of a material to reversibly change its volume under the influence of influence of an external force. For example, air is easily compressed and expands again when the external force is removed.
  • torsional elasticityis the ability of a material to change its shape in response to an external force applied in a plane perpendicular to its longitudinal axis. An example of a torsionally elastic material is a copper wire.
  • Complex elasticity: Refers to the ability of a material to display more than one type of elasticity. For example, some polymers can exhibit both linear and volumetric elasticity.
  • Dielectric elasticity: It is the ability of a material to store electrical energy in its electrical field. A dielectric material is considered elastic if it can store electrical energy reversibly and recover its original shape.
  • Enzymatic elasticity: Refers to the ability of an enzyme to recover its catalytic activity after being denatured or inactivated by changes in pH, temperature or pressure.
  • Adsorption elasticity: It is the ability of an adsorbent material to recover its adsorption capacity after being removed by an external force. Adsorption elasticity is important in the separation of chemical compounds and in the purification of solutions.

However, two main ones stand out: linear and nonlinear elasticity.

linear elasticity

In chemistry, linear elasticity refers to the ability of a material to recover its original shape after being subjected to elastic deformation, as long as the deformation is proportional to the applied force. That is, if the strain undergone by the material is small, Hooke’s law applies and the relationship between force and strain is linear.

Linear elasticity is important in the characterization of materials such as polymers, elastomers, metals, ceramics and glasses, among others. It can be determined through tests such as the tensile test and the compression test.

nonlinear elasticity

In chemistry, nonlinear elasticity refers to the ability of a material to undergo deformation not proportional to the applied force. In other words, the relationship between the applied force and the resulting deformation is not linear.

A common example of nonlinear elasticity in chemistry is the behavior of polymeric materials, such as rubber or plastic. As a force is applied to these materialsinitially deform in a linear fashion, but as increasing force is applied, their deformation begins to deviate from the linear relationship.

Nonlinear elasticity can also be observed in crosslinked polymer systems, where the chemical structure of the material affects its ability to deform in a non-linear way. This behavior is important in the manufacture of rubber and plastic materials and products, where nonlinear elasticity can affect the material’s ability to meet specifications and performance requirements.

Characteristics and properties of elasticity

Some characteristics and elasticity properties are:

  • Constancy: The constant of elasticity of a material indicates how well it maintains its original shape after a deformation.
  • Time Warp: The deformation that a material experiences when a force is applied to it is temporary and reversible.
  • Elastic limit: There is limit on strength that can be applied to a material without causing permanent deformation.
  • Hysteresis: The relationship between the applied force and the deformation is not always the same in the compression and expansion of material.
  • Temperature: The elasticity of a material can be affected by temperature, generally being greater at lower temperatures.
  • Applications: Elasticity is used in numerous applications, from spring materials to the manufacture of textile and medical products.

These are just some of the characteristics and properties of elasticity that make this property a fundamental part of physics and engineering.

How is elasticity measured in chemistry?

Elasticity is observed when a material is able to return to its original form after being deformed. However, if more external energy is applied than the material can withstand, it can break down and lose its elasticity. In chemistry, the measurement of elasticity is done through the concept of Young’s modulus or of longitudinal elasticity.

This module allows to measure the way in which the body behaves when a force is applied to it, in order to determine if the material can be elongated or not. The measure of elasticity is based on the relationship between stress and deformation of the material as a function of length, and can be expressed by the formula E = σ/εwhere “E” is the Young’s modulus, “σ” is the uniaxial stress or force per unit area, and “ε” is proportional strain (change in length from the original).

Examples of elasticity in the property of matter in chemistry

The property of elasticity is only present in some solidsand some examples that stand out are:

  • The springs are the object par excellence to exemplify elasticity. When we apply force to them, they compress and when we remove it, they release the accumulated energy and return to their initial state.
  • Another example is given in the foodlike chewing gum, They have amazing flexibility. We chew them, we stretch them, we make bombs with them and they can return to their initial shape, although perhaps not exactly the same after being introduced into our mouths.
  • Tires are also another example. elasticity in materials. They have the ability to support the weight of the car and, despite this, not deform. They retain enough strength to return to their original shape.
  • The human body is also a magnificent example of elasticity thanks to the ability to stretch and recover muscles its original form. It is essential to maintain physical activity to preserve the elasticity of our muscles and delay biological aging.

As we age, the elasticity of the body can be compromised if we do not do the right physical work. Thus, it is important to do activities that stimulate the elasticity and flexibility of the muscles. Agility in various actions is very useful for daily use, and elasticity is a very valuable quality in those materials that possess it.

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