One speaks of plasticity when a component is subjected to a load beyond its elastic limit. Whereby the materials retain the resulting shape after exposure, i.e. irreversible deformations occur, the so-called plastic deformations.


A distinction is made between tensile stress (tension), compressive stress (compression), torsional stress or shear stress.

High plasticity is found, for example, in some metals (cold forming of sheet metal) or in red-hot steel during forging.

Low plasticity is found, for example, in rubber, which usually returns to its original state after deformation. Another example of low plasticity is brittle materials, such as glass or ceramics, which fail relatively quickly when subjected to excessive stress. 

In the field of engineering simulation calculations, the plasticities of a wide variety of materials are known and are taken into account in the simulation. This provides a realistic representation of the reaction of materials.