Strain hardening exponent

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The strain hardening exponent (also called strain hardening index), noted as n, is a material's constant which is used in calculations for stress–strain behavior in work hardening.

In the formula σ = K ε n,
σ represents the applied stress on the material,
ε is the strain,
K is the strength coefficient.

The value of the strain hardening exponent lies between 0 and 1. A value of 0 means that a material is a perfectly plastic solid, while a value of 1 represents a 100% elastic solid. Most metals have an n value between 0.10 and 0.50.


Tabulation of n and K Values for Several Alloys [1]
Material n K (MPa)
Low-carbon steel (annealed) 0.21 600
4340 steel alloy (tempered @ 315 °C) 0.12 2650
304 stainless steel (annealed) 0.43 1400
Copper (annealed) 0.44 530
Naval brass (annealed) 0.21 585
2024 aluminum alloy (heat treated—T3) 0.17 780
AZ-31B magnesium alloy (annealed) 0.16 450


  1. ^ Callister, Jr., William D (2005), Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering (2nd ed.), United States of America: John Wiley & Sons, p. 199, ISBN 978-0-471-47014-4 

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