Young's Modulus: Definition, Formula and Examples of Materials

Young's Modulus: Definition, Formula and Examples of Materials

Young's modulus, also known as longitudinal modulus of elasticity or elastic modulus, is a mechanical property of materials that describes their stiffness or resistance to elastic deformation when an external force is applied.

Young's modulus is represented by the letter "E" and is defined as the ratio between stress (force applied per unit area) and strain (relative change in original length) in the longitudinal direction of the material.

The Young's modulus concept is valid only within the elastic range of deformation of a material, that is, when the deformation is reversible and the material can return to its original shape once the applied force is removed. 


Mathematically, it is expressed as follows:

E = σ / ε


  • E: Young's modulus (in pascals, Pa)

  • σ: Effort (in pascals, Pa)

  • ε: Strain (unitless)

What does a high or low Young's modulus value mean?

Young's modulus is a measure of the stiffness of the material.

The higher the Young's modulus, the stiffer the material and the more resistant it is to elastic deformation.

On the other hand, the lower the value, the more flexible the material will be and will deform more easily under the same applied force.

Relation to Hooke's law

There is a relationship between Hooke's law and Young's modulus (E): Young's modulus is the proportionality constant that relates stress and strain in an elastic material.

Relation to elastic limit

The elastic limit is the maximum stress or stress that a material can withstand without undergoing permanent or plastic deformation. It is the point at which the material stops behaving elastically and begins to deform permanently. That is, above the elastic limit, the material will not return to its original shape once the applied load is removed.

On the other hand, Young's modulus is a measure of the stiffness or resistance to elastic deformation of a material. However, it is only valid while the deformation is reversible.

Therefore, when a material deforms, if it exceeds its elastic limit, the Young's modulus is no longer applicable, the material can be permanently deformed and its behavior is governed by different laws, such as rigidity modulus or plasticity.

Young's modulus applications

Young's modulus, as a mechanical property of materials, has several applications and uses in different fields of engineering and science. Here are some of the main applications of Young's modulus:

  1. Structural Design: Allows you to calculate and predict how a material will deform under applied loads, which helps determine the strength and stability of structures.

  2. Material Selection: Allows you to compare and evaluate the stiffness and strength of different materials for specific applications.

  3. Finite Element Analysis: In finite element analysis, a computational modeling technique used to simulate the behavior of complex structures, Young's modulus is used to define the elastic properties of materials in numerical models.

  4. Deformation prediction: Young's modulus is used to predict deformations in materials and structures due to applied loads. This is useful to evaluate the elastic deformation and the behavior of materials subjected to different loading conditions.

  5. Stress and Stress Calculations: Also used to determine the relationship between the force applied to a material and the resulting deformation using Hooke's Law. This is essential to understand the behavior of materials and ensure structural integrity.

  6. Material Development: This property is useful in the development of new materials with specific properties.


Below is a table with examples of some materials with a brief description of each material and its respective Young's modulus:

Material Description Young's Modulus (GPa)

Structural steel

Iron alloy with carbon and other elements, used in the construction of structures.



Light metal with high strength and low density, used in various industrial applications.



Amorphous, transparent and fragile solid material, used in windows and containers, among others.


Wood (construction)

Natural material composed of plant tissue, used in construction and carpentry.



Mixture of cement, aggregates and water, used in the construction of structures and pavements.



Organic materials composed of molecular chains, widely used in various products and applications.

Various MPa - GPa


A metal that conducts heat and electricity, used in cables, pipes, and electronic components.



A lightweight, corrosion-resistant metal used in aerospace and medical applications.



Hard and resistant igneous rock, used in construction and architectural finishes.



Viscous and sticky material used in the construction of roads and pavements.


Gum (rubber)

Elastic and flexible material, used in tires, seals and various products.



Solid state water, used in applications such as food storage and ice sports.



Crystalline form of carbon, known for its extreme hardness, used in jewelry and tools.


ceramics (general)

Non-metallic inorganic materials, widely used in industry and construction.


Plexiglass (PMMA)

Transparent and resistant plastic material, used in applications such as windows and sheets.


Stainless steel

Iron alloy with chromium and other elements, resistant to corrosion, used in various industrial and structural applications.


Carbon fiber

Material composed of intertwined carbon fibers, known for its high strength and low weight.


Publication Date: July 15, 2023
Last Revision: July 15, 2023