When an external stress is applied to a material, the material will be deformed, or strained. If the magnitude of the stress is increased, the material will eventually fail by fracturing. Not all materials fail in the same manner, and the type of fracture that occurs may be either brittle or ductile. In a ductile fracture, failure is preceded by a considerable amount of plastic deformation of the material, but in a brittle, or non-ductile, fracture there is little or no plastic deformation prior to failure. The type of failure that occurs is largely dependent on the nature of the material and its condition, but failure is also affected by other factors, including the type of stressing, the rate of application of stress, temperature, and environment.
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