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62 Pages • Complete Study Notes • Year Uploaded: 2021
The structure of a material refers to its internal components on an atomic level whilst the properties refer to the response of the material to a stimulus. However, the properties are heavily dependent on the structure itself. The six categories of properties include mechanical, electrical, thermal, optical, magnetic, and deteriorative (chemical reactivity). With regards to the type of materials, the three main types are metals, polymers/plastics, and ceramics. Metals (including alloys) are arranged orderly and are densely packed, thus making them stiff, strong, and resistant to fracture whilst being ductile. Because of the cationic lattice structure of metals with the surrounding delocalized electrons, light reflects off them, resulting in the reflective surfaces of metals. They are also opaque, as well as having high thermal and electrical conductivity (as can be understood by the structure with the delocalized electrons providing the electrical conductivity and the densely packed atoms providing thermal conductivity). Polymers are very long chains, often with a carbon backbone. They tend to have lower densities and resultantly, are not as hard or stiff when compared to ceramics and metals. However, comparisons done on a per mass basis demonstrate comparable strength. Polymers are generally soft and ductile whilst also acting as thermal and electrical insulators. They are chemically inert and optically translucent, giving rise to many potential applications.
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