The three materials we will cover are ceramics, polymers and composites.
Ceramics are made by moulding material. Once the material has been moulded and shaped, it is then baked in an oven. Two known types of ceramic materials are bricks and pottery.
Bricks are formed by baking moulded clay.
Pottery is also made by moulding clay, which used to make things like plates.
Polymers are long molecules that are made by joining many small molecules together, through chemical reaction, to make a long molecule.
The arrangement of atoms that form ethene are repeated over and over. For example, chloroethene below:
Chloroethene molecules join together to form longer molecules, called poly(chloroethene). The individual chloroethene molecules are joining together to form a polymer.
The polymers that occur naturally are called natural polymers.
Another example is cotton
Cotton is a natural polymer produced by cotton plants.
Synthetic polymers are man made polymers Crude oil can be used in oil refineries to make different types of plastic polymers using chemical reactions.
Here are some examples of plastic polymers:
|Plastic polymer||Common uses|
|Low density poly(ethene) – LDPE||Plastic bags|
|High density poly(ethene) – HDPE||Harder plastics, such as bottles and toys|
|Poly(vinyl chloride) – PVC||Water pipes and electronics|
|Polymer name||Common use|
|PVC||Water pipes and coating of electrical wires|
|Lycra||Clothing usually sports clothing|
Composites are materials that are made from different types of materials. They are very useful because they combine two or more materials which have unique properties.
For example, if you like the properties of one type of material and you like the properties of another type of material, you can combine them to form a composite. This composite will have the properties of both materials.
An example of a composite is reinforced concrete, which is a mixture of both concrete and steel.
The two main properties of reinforced concrete:
As reinforced steel contains both of these properties, it is a very strong material that can be used for many types of buildings.
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