Clarification of Resilience and Toughness of Materials

Materials science and materials engineering are very important disciplines in engineering. Especially in design engineering, it is very important to know the characteristics of materials. There are various kinds of materials in nature and various kinds of materials are produced with these materials. When you start a new design, you need to know the range of materials that you can use in that design or part. So, you need to know the technical characteristics of these materials. 

Image Source: Quora

Around the various characteristics and properties of materials, two concepts are generally confused between them: toughness and resilience. 

We would like to clarify this confusion in this article in a short way. 

What is the Resilience?

In mechanical design or structural design, engineers prefer to stay in the linear section o the stress-strain chart of the material. They generally use yield strength value as limit stress value. They also use a safety factor value which decreases this yield strength limit to stay in more safe limits while designing components. 

In this linear section of the stress-strain curves of materials, you will be dealing with the resilience of materials. Resilience means, the energy absorption ability of material up to yield strength value. It can be calculated with the area beneath the curve, up to the yield strength value. 

So What is the Toughness of a Material?

In the stress-strain curve, engineers generally do not use a non-linear section that starts from the yield strength value up to the ultimate fracture strength. 

Toughness is the total energy absorption of material up to the fracture. So it includes both resilience and the other area on the right side of the yield strength value. 

Difference between the Toughness and Resilience

So as you understand, the difference between toughness and resilience is very simple like above. In mechanical design and structural design, resilience is generally used and calculated to see the material characteristics. Toughness is a value that is generally used to compare the materials’ abilities to withstand external effects such as forces and loads. 

Design of Springs with Resilient Materials

Compression springs(Image Source: Wikimedia

Most resilient materials are used in the spring production. From springs, designers are expecting very high energy absorption capabilities. Spring must not get deformed when subjected to very high loads. So, spring material must be resilient. In spring production, high alloyed steels are generally used because of their resilient feature. 

In addition, the toughness of ductile materials is higher than that of brittle materials. Brittle materials fracture abruptly without showing any physical hint like deflection of ductile materials. 


We wish this clarification between the toughness and resilience of materials is revealing for our readers. We intended to explain these phenomena from an engineering designer’s viewpoint. 

Do not forget to leave your comments and questions below about the difference between resilience and toughness of engineering materials. 

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