Stiffness is one of the key mechanical properties of plastic, along with strength, hardness, and toughness. The stiffness of plastics is described by flexural modulus (the ability of a material to bend), which is measured in pounds per square inch (psi). The higher the flexural modulus, the stiffer the material; the lower the flexural modulus, the more flexible it is.
In addition to flexural modulus, the stiffness of plastics is sometimes referred to as flexural strength or tensile modulus. This mixing of terms can result in confusion as to the difference between stiffness and strength. The strength of a plastic (typically referred to as tensile strength or ultimate strength) is how much stress a plastic can withstand without breaking when it is stretched or pulled (physical failure). Stiffness of plastic is the ability of the material to distribute a load and resist deformation or deflection (functional failure). These properties are often needed in conjunction with one another in demanding applications.
At Reading Plastic, we’re experts at machining the most advanced plastics on the market, including those with superior stiffness. We not only help you select the appropriate material, we can also machine and fabricate your parts to hold tight tolerances. If you need help determining the right plastic for your application, reach out to us today at (610) 926-3245.
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