David Mercier
Ansys Employee
This question is related to the shape of the potential energy curve of atoms in close proximity. If you have a look on such curves, the shape is nearly symmetric in both tension and compression but most of the time only for small deformations. Here a reference paper about this: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/274434771_Potential_Energy_Curves_Material_Properties
And another example with this paper about biological tissues: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3099446/
Finally, this question is quite recurrent in the field of indentation testing, especially to know if indentation modulus is equal to tensile or bending Young's modulus:
And some information can be found in these AICs: