Metal forming involves a permanent change in the shape of a material as a result of the application of an applied stress. The work done in deforming the sample is not recoverable. This plastic deformation involves a change in shape without a change in volume and without melting.
It is desirable to know the stress level at which plastic deformation begins i.e., the onset of yielding. In uniaxial loading, this is the point where the straight, elastic portion of the line first begins to curve. This point is the yield stress. The animation below shows a typical stress-strain curve for a polycrystalline sample, obtained from uniaxial tensile test.
Note: This animation requires Adobe Flash Player 8 and later, which can be downloaded here.