Materials Science/Materials

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Materials are physical substances used as inputs to production or manufacturing. Raw materials are first extracted or harvested from the earth and divided into a form that can be easily transported and stored, then processed to produce "semi-finished materials". These can be input into a new cycle of production and "finishing processes to create "finished materials", ready for distribution and consumption.

An example of a raw material is cotton, which can be processed into thread, and then processed into cloth, a semi-finished material. Sewing and cutting the fabric turns it into a garment, which is a finished material. Steelmaking is another example—raw materials are extracted, refined and processed into steel, a semi-finished material. Steel is then used as an input in many other industries to make finished products.

  1. Composite Materials
  2. Concrete
  3. Semiconducters
  4. Metals
  5. Liquid Crystals
  6. Ceramics
  7. Polymers

Partial Comparison of Materials

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Type Bonding Properties Thermal/electrical
Metals Metallic high opaque, reflective
Polymers Secondary soft, ductile, low strength insulators translucent/ transparent
Ceramics Mostly Ionic brittle, glassy, elastic Insulators
Semiconductors covalent ?? Between conductors and insulators