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Lesson 1:

Classification of materials

a) Metals

Metals are a group of materials that share several properties: they are shiny and good electrical and thermal conductors*. As it is shown in the image on the right, the atoms of a metal are very well ordered.

*We will see what it means later.

Some typical applications of metals are:

b) Plastics

Plastics are materials that can easily change its shape. That’s the reason why they are so widely used for making all kinds of objects. Plastics are made of long chains called polymers which are formed by hundreds or thousands of small particles called monomers.

Some objects that are typically made of plastics are:

c) Textiles

Textiles are materials consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibers. Fabric and clothes are synonyms for textiles.

Some typical applications of textiles are:

d) Woods

Wood is a material with a fibrous structure that is found in the trunk and branches of trees and bushes. Wood fibers are made of a substance called cellulose.

Wood is used in a variety of situations such as…

e) Stones

Stone materials are those that are extracted from rocks that can be found in nature. They are mainly used in construction.

f) Ceramics

Ceramics are a group of hard and heat resistant materials that a made by shaping and then heating a material such as clay, together with other substances, at high temperatures.

As is with stones, this kind of materials is mainly used in construction:

Glass can also be considered a special type of ceramic material:

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