Let’s look at the properties of ceramics, polymers and composites.
Ceramics are a class of materials that are made by shaping and moulding raw materials and then heating them to high temperatures. This process forms hard, strong and durable materials that can be used for many purposes. Two examples of ceramic materials are bricks and pottery.
Bricks are made by moulding clay and then baking it in an oven. They are typically used in construction for building walls, floors, and other structures.
Pottery is also made by moulding clay and firing it at high temperatures. Pottery is used to make a wide range of objects such as vases, bowls and plates.
Ceramics have the following properties:
Polymers are large molecules made up of repeating units known as monomers. These monomers are joined together through chemical reactions, to form long chains.
Another example is poly(chloroethene), which is formed by joining many chloroethene monomers.
In this case, the individual chloroethene molecules are linked together to form a polymer chain.
Natural polymers are polymers that occur naturally in the environment. Two examples of natural polymers are wool and cotton.
Wool is produced by sheep
Cotton is a natural polymer produced by cotton plants.
Both wool and cotton are used in textiles and clothing due to their softness, warmth, and durability.
Synthetic polymers are man-made materials created through chemical reactions. One common source of monomers for synthetic polymers is crude oil. It can be processed in oil refineries to produce different plastic polymers.
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 uses|
|PVC||Water pipes and coating of electrical wires|
|Lycra||Clothing usually sports clothing|
Composites are materials made from different types of materials. They are very useful because they combine two or more materials which have unique properties.
For example, you can combine two materials with desirable properties to form a composite, which has 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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