Materials such as metals, plastics, glass, wood and fabrics have different properties that make them useful for different jobs.
Iron and steel
- Metals such as iron and steel come from ore in rocks.
- Iron and steel are strong, hard, shiny and long lasting.
- They can be hammered into different shapes and are used for making things such as pots and pans, steel cans and instruments used by doctors and dentists.
- Steel can be rolled into thin sheets.
- It can be stretched into wires and rods.
- It can be coated with plastic, paint, and other metals such as tin.
- Iron and steel can be recycled.
Gold and silver
- Gold and silver are metals too and can be used to make jewellery and coins.
- Gold and silver can be hammered and stretched into many shapes.
- Gold is shiny, soft and dense.
- Electricity and heat can travel through silver and gold.
- Gold and silver are long lasting.
- Aluminium is a lightweight metal.
- It can be shaped.
- Electricity and heat can passs through aluminium.
- It will not rust easily.
- It can be painted.
- Aluminium can be polished to become a good reflector.
- It can be recycled.
- Plastics are made from chemicals.
- They are flexible and can be made into any shape.
- Plastics can be stretched and made into thread and woven to make fabric.
- Plastics are used to make bottles, toys and even artificial teeth.
- Plastics can be dyed and can be made to be transparent. (see through it)
- Plastics are waterproof.
- Plastic is not magnetic so it makes a good electrical insulators. Electricity and heat don't pass through it.
- Glass is made by mixing sand and other minerals and melting them in a furnace.
- Glass can be strong.
- Glass is transparent.
- Glass is waterproof.
- Glass can be made into different shapes.
- It can be recycled.
- Timber is wood that is cut from trees.
- It is a natural product.
- It is a renewable resource.
- Wood is strong, flexible and long lasting.
- It can be recycled and it is biodegradable.
- It is used to build things such as houses and furniture.
Read about timber
Fabrics are made by weaving the threads of different fibres. Cotton, silk and wool are natural fibres that can be used to make fabrics.
Fabrics can be flexible (stretchy), insulating to keep you warm or cool, waterproof (a raincoat keeps you dry) or absorbent (a cotton towel soaks up water)
- Wool is warm, natural and renewable.
- Wool absorbs sound.
- Wool is biodegradable which means it will rot without leaving damaging remains.
- It is fire resistant. (It won't catch fire)
- It is strong and can be stretched
- Silk is a fabric that is light and cool.
- It is the strongest natural fibre.
- It can be dyed many colours.
- Cotton is a natural fibre and is renewable.
- Cotton absorbs water.
- It is a good conductor of heat so it keeps us warm in winter and cool in summer.
- It can be dyed easily in many colours.
- Almost every part of the cotton plant can be used.