Elastic Deformation

Deformation is defined as a change in shape. When a force is applied to elastic materials or objects like springs, they can change shape. They can stretch, compress or bend, which can easily be seen with a spring.

Stretching, Compressing and Bending


When an elastic material object is pulled, it stretches

Pulling both ends of the object.


When an elastic material is squashed, it compresses

Pushing both ends of the object.


Multiple forces are acting on the spring. Bend both ends of the object past each other. Although the concept also applies to less elastic objects.

Elastic and Inelastic deformation

There are two types of deformation:

1. Elastic deformation – The object returns to its original shape. For example, when you stretch a rubber band a little and release it, the band returns to its original shape.

2. Inelastic deformation – The object does not return to its original shape, it stays deformed.

The higher the force, the greater the amount of deformation. This is why when you pull a rubber band further, it stretches out further the more you pull it. However, after applying too much force, the object cannot return to its original shape. We call this point the elastic limit.