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


An elastic object stretches when it is pulled.

  • Pulling both ends of the spring


An elastic object compresses when it is squashed.

  • Pushing both ends of the spring


When multiple forces act on an object like a spring, it can cause the ends to bend past each other.

Although, this bending 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 greater the force applied, the more an object deforms. For instance, the more you pull a rubber band, the further it stretches. However, after applying too much force, the object cannot return to its original shape. We call this point the elastic limit.