Are you looking for a quick reference for flexible materials? From what makes a material bendable to popular usage, this use may lead you through the basics. Do you want to know about Wire That Bends But Doesn’t Break?
Wire That Bends But Doesn’t Break
The term “armature wire” is a good illustration of this. It’s comprised of a super-soft aluminum alloy that bends without breaking. Doll fingers are a good example of this. You can pose the dolls in any way you choose because the wire is embedded in the plastic.
In sketching, a flexible ruler can be twisted into curves and angles and maintain its shape to some extent until re-bent or straightened. I believe it comprises numerous layered lengths of materials within an outer sheathing that acts as a restricting and frictional constraint on the layers, allowing it to keep its shape until a stronger force overcomes and disturbs it. For the same purpose, I’ve also utilized a solder bar.
What Are Bendable Materials?
Materials that can be bent out of shape or squeezed without breaking and then easily recovered to their original shape are known as bendable or flexible materials. While we don’t generally think of metal or plastic as extremely flexible, you can construct a flexible shape, such as a slinky, out of both materials.
The massive steel girders used to construct buildings must be flexible because they might break during earthquakes or exceptionally high winds!
It’s better to think of flexibility as a spectrum, with things that could be done to make a naturally more rigid and strong more fluid, and things that can be done to make a more flexible and less resilient material stronger and more rigid.
Rubber is more flexible than steel but may be made more rigid by shaping it into a solid block. However, because of the particles’ structure, some materials are significantly more flexible than others.
What Makes Some Materials More Bendable Than Others?
It all comes down to the structure of the particles within a certain material. The particles that make solid materials are kept together by strong bindings. Still, the strength of these ties varies greatly depending on how tightly the particles are packed together and how freely they may move within the structure.
Generally, the more movable the particles in a material are, the more flexible the substance is. Solid materials that are the most flexible are made up of particles that are formed and held together in a way that allows for a lot of movement, such as rubber, which is recognized for its bendability. We’ll use this as our primary case study to demonstrate how this approach works.
Rubber is made up of a polymer, a form of molecule (a particle made up of a mixture of smaller particles of various components). Polymer particles are long chains that can be extended or contracted and slide over each other easily, and rubber is an excellent example of how this works in practice.
When we tug on the material to stretch or bend it, the polymer chains have a lot of slack to grow longer or be dragged into a new shape and they also have the space to retract when left alone for a while or when intentionally reformed into the original form without breaking.
Plastics are made up of comparable particles, which is why many are bendable and reshapable, though not all have the same structure as rubber.
Things work a little differently in metals and rocks. In contrast to polymers, which have a structure made up of many chains bound together, metal particles are often kept together in a tighter lattice-like structure with less space between them. Metals are generally more resistant than polymers like rubber and plastic but aren’t completely waterproof to bending.
Because lattice structures are commonly created in layers, the layers can slide over each other, and the material can change the shape without breaking if a force is applied in the proper area. However, the more layers present, the more difficult it is to stretch and manipulate the links between them to allow movement.
This is why it’s relatively easily bent a thin metal spoon with our bare hands but considerably more difficult to bend anything larger, such as a traffic sign. It is feasible to bend these materials with enough force. However, it can be difficult to apply enough force without contorting the material’s internal bonds to the point where they break completely.
Are There Different Types Of Flexibility?
Yes, they do! Elasticity and plasticity are the two basic types of flexibility observed daily. These two types of flexibility may appear very similar on the surface, but if you grasp how they work, they become very diverse and separate from one another. You may divide the ways that materials bend into two distinct types and forms of change when we simplify it down to its most basic form:
- Elasticity refers to a material’s ability to change shape in response to a force and then return to its original shape once the force is withdrawn. When you cease stretching a rubber band, it returns to its natural shape. The material’s internal structure can revert to its former form even though the particles and their links between them are twisted when the force is applied.
- When a force is applied to a material, it can change its shape, but it does not return to its original shape when the force is removed, and it will take external force to bend it back into its original shape. Consider paperclips: we can bend and twist them into different forms, and they will stay in those shapes until we bend them again. Although the internal structure is a single unit, it has been irreversibly altered. Some internal bonds may have been broken, and they will not readily revert to their original state before the force was applied.
This is why even flexible materials can break: if the force applied to them is too great, the bonds between the particles can be damaged to the point where they split and the material breaks. The bonds between the latticed metallic particles are stretched as we bend the paperclip, and if they are put under too much tension, they snap. Even the most pliable materials limit how far they can be stretched before breaking.
A building requires materials with a certain amount of elasticity so that if it is hit by something, it can absorb some of the impacts without breaking, and plasticity so that if the impact is greater than what the material can absorb without bending, it bends more than it breaks entirely.
Modern cars are a great example of plasticity: crumple zones are built out of materials that are flexible enough to crumple and bend, absorbing the shock so that the car’s central structure, which must be stiffer, does not break and gravely hurt the occupants.
What Are Some Examples Of Flexible Materials?
Unless some force maintains it in its new shape, a flexible object can bend and return to its original shape. Almost any substance can be transformed into a flexible shape. Slinkies can be manufactured out of a variety of materials (various metals and various plastics). Glass fiber is a flexible material.
Even steel beams used in construction are flexible, allowing buildings to withstand wind and earthquakes. Wood can also be bent into a variety of shapes. The challenge lies in how the material is molded into a shape and what you want to do with it, not in the substance itself.
There’s a little art involved, but the main goal is to take advantage of the material’s qualities. In general, you want some flexibility and a lot of stiffness in construction work. You want a lot of flexibility in glass fiber and need to know the minimum bending radius to avoid cracking the fiber.
In the case of paper clips, torsional stiffness and flex must be balanced so that the paper clip may be opened and returned to roughly its original shape, allowing friction to hold the sheets of paper together. Bending wood and using dowels and adhesive to hold it in place creates a bentwood rocking chair.
Is there a Wire That Bends But Doesn’t Break? It depends on your interpretation of the terms. Plastics, for example, will change from one to the other when wet or at the right temperature. Furthermore, many stiff materials, such as metal alloys, can flex when subjected to sufficient force. There’s also the case of a rope that’s stiff under tensile stresses but flexible under compression ones, provided the forces are applied along the rope’s length.