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Why is the Elastic Modulus of concrete smaller than that of steel?

Question asked by Val Blant on Mar 15, 2016
Latest reply on Mar 17, 2016 by Jim Riddell

I am trying to get a basic feel for what the Modulus of Elasticity means for different materials. My understanding is that since E = stress / strain, a higher E means a stiffer material, b/c it takes more force to produce the same amount of strain.

I was surprised to learn that Elasticty for concrete (24 GPa) is an order of magnitude smaller than that of steel (200 GPa). Doesn't this mean that the same force will result in 10x more deformation in concrete, as it will in steel? Is this really true?

A linear simulation in SolidWorks shows that it is indeed the case:

Concrete and Steel.png

Intuitively, it feels that concrete should be more rigid (and brittle, of course) than steel, yet these results suggest that it is not true.