Article | Published:

A Theory of the Strength of Metals

Nature volume 149, pages 511513 (09 May 1942) | Download Citation



THE shear stress at which a metal passes beyond the elastic range and begins to yield is ill-defined. It is very small for highly perfect single crystals, and less for an annealed polycrystalline specimen than for one which has been hardened by cold work. It has often been pointed out that there is no elastic limit in a typical plastic metal, since the apparent stress at which the metal begins to yield depends upon the sensitivity of the means for detecting very small rates of flow. Nevertheless, the elastic limit and ultimate strength of metals can be stated in round figures; were it not so, the engineer would have no basis for his calculations.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    , Proc. Roy. Soc., A, 172, 231 (1939).

  2. 2.

    , Proc. Roy. Soc., A, 145, 362 (1934).

  3. 3.

    , and , J. Inst. Met., 67, 315 (1941).

  4. 4.

    , and , Proc. Roy. Soc., A, 178, 93 (1941).

  5. 5.

    , Proc. Phys. Soc., 52, 105 (1940).

Download references

About this article

Publication history




  1. Search for LAWRENCE BRAGG in:

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.