Physical Properties in Total Materia

The physical properties of metals, such as density, Young modulus, Poisson coefficient, thermal conductivity, and electrical resistivity, depend on many factors ranging from variations in chemical and phase compositions, applied heat treatment and processing, to crystallite axes direction. The values of physical properties of metals can often depend on the direction in which they are measured in the crystal lattice and hence are not a simply scalar quantity. Therefore, presenting them with a number is generally an approximation.

IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT ONE PROPERLY UNDERSTANDS THE CONCEPT OF PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF METALS IN GENERAL, WHICH IS NOT STRAIGHTFORWARD OR SIMPLE. Please keep in mind that physical properties of metals may vary significantly; therefore the values provided in Total Materia ARE ONLY INDICATIVE AND CANNOT BE USED FOR FINAL DESIGN, even when provided by standards development organizations (SDOs). It is the user's responsibility to perform the final review and testing of material properties and the suitability for a particular application.

In an effort to provide metallurgists and materials professionals with as much relevant information as possible, Total Materia has developed and approach for presenting physical properties which can be viewed as a continuum of categories that moves from the most reliable specifics published by SDOs to the more generalized information provided by various sources. This continuum approach has three distinct categories as described below.


For some materials, the physical properties are presented within a material specification published by the corresponding standards development organizations (SDOs). Information published by an SDO is generally reliable, however the values given for physical properties are usually stated as an indication only. Unlike mechanical properties such as tensile and yield stress, that are often mandatory compliance requirements for suppliers, physical properties are usually indicative values for which a much larger range is acceptable, unless otherwise agreed.

Other Sources

The Total Materia category Other Sources for physical properties of metals include information from metals industry and academic literature, brochures, producers’ catalogs, and analysis and documents published on the Internet. Total Materia metallurgists and engineers review this material and make a determination as to its validity. Although information from these sources is usually correct, we view this level of its reliability as lower than recommendations published by SDOs. Consequently, one must conduct an even more rigorous analysis of the properties and associated application for the material.

Typical Values

Based on metallurgical expertise, statistical applications, and analysis of literature, Total Materia provides typical properties values for various groups of metals, which are grouped according to metallurgical and physical similarity. These Typical Values are by nature an approximation and can be used only as an initial starting point for calculations, but not as a final value.