Materials accumulate for the composition of all the objects in the surroundings. The associated properties of the materials are different from one another. Most of the finished goods are made of up raw materials that have their unique traits which are mixed to make a final unit of product. The classification of the properties is done based on various physical as well as chemical properties.

What is a Material?

Materials are referred to as the building blocks of the finished products available in the market. The material in itself is a broad spectrum to discuss. The classification of the materials is conducted based on a certain set of properties. All the materials display a certain set of physical properties that include hardness, stiffness, strength, thermal conductivity, heat capacity, permeability, and magnetism.

The science associated with the study of materials is termed material science. The materials available in the open have a diverse range of uses. The classification is based on their use in their industries. The process of making materials to be utilized in the course of certain applications is called material selection.

Properties of Materials

Materials have a diverse range of properties. However, for scientific purposes the physical and the chemical properties of a matter are essential to be considered. The physical properties of material are subcategorized into electric, magnetic, thermal and mechanical properties.

The chemical properties of a particular material include their distinct states, that is, solid, liquid, gaseous, solubility, pH, reactivity, the tension of surface, energy of the surface, corrosion, etc. There are distinct sets of properties based on the mechanical aspect, elasticity, plasticity, ductility, durability, brittleness, hardness, malleability, resilience, stiffness, and viscosity.

Classification of Materials - Based on Physical Properties

Materials can be classified based on a certain set of physical properties.

The properties are mentioned below:

  • Appearance: Materials can be differentiated from one another based on the looks of a material Some of the materials are known to reflect light and shine and they are called lustrous.

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Figure 1: Material classification based on appearance

  • On the contrary, some objects do shine graphite and wood are common examples of this kind of material. Iron, gold, diamond, and cooper are lustrous and they are called metals.

  • Hardness: Materials that can be compressed or can be scratched easily are considered soft materials. On the other hand, the materials that are hard to compress of scratch are referred to as hard substances.

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Figure 2: Material classification based on appearance

  • Transparency: Materials that cannot be seen past are referred to as opaque objects. For example, trees, iron sheets, etc. On the other hand, certain objects can see through easily, these substances are called transparent objects. For example, glass. Materials that allow partial visibility through them are called translucent materials. For example, oily papers.

Classification of Materials - Based on Atomic Structure

Based on the atomic structure of the materials they can be classified into several sections. These materials are further classified into metals, ceramics, and polymers.

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Figure 3: Classification of materials

  • Metals: This section of materials classified the metallic elements like gold, iron, copper, nickel, and aluminium. These materials are hard, strong, and at times malleable. Certain meals like gold and silver are ductile and yet fracture and resistant.

  • Ceramics: This section of material has metallic and non-metallic substances. It mostly requires compounds like oxides, nitrides, and carbides. These products in general are strong and also brittle and they can also break down fast.

  • Polymers: These substances include plastic and rubber products. Most common examples are polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, and nylon. These materials are not particularly stiff or strong when compared to metals or ceramics. These products are known to have low density and are quite ductile. That is, these products can easily be moulded into variant shapes.

Definition of Raw Materials

The materials that are not thoroughly processed and are utilized to make a final product is referred to as raw material. It is the most basic form of material that is available in nature. These materials are mostly used for industrial purposes to make a final product.


Materials that are found in nature are the basis of the production of final products. These materials are further subdivided into various categories that assist in the making of final products. These products have their own set of distinct chemical properties where the materials are categorized based on their atomic structure and other essential properties. These are also categorized based on their particular physical properties. The materials that act as building blocks of the final products are classified as raw materials.


Q1. What is the essential properties of materials?

Ans. Most of the substances are classified based on four distinct properties, that is, elasticity, where the materials elongate and return to their original shape once the force is removed. Thermal conductivity denotes the extent of heat that courses through a material. Density is the mass of material per cubic centimetre. Finally, ductility, is the property of the material to alter its shape without deformity.

Q2. What is the categories of raw materials?

Ans. Raw materials are subdivided into two categories direct and indirect materials. The direct materials are used in final products. Indirect materials are used in the process of making the final product. For example, crude oil, iron ore, water, mineral, etc.

Q3. What are composites?

Ans. Composites are formed when polymers and ceramics are mixed to form an entirely new product. The final product is called a composite. Most of these products are man-made, and a handful of the composites occur in nature. Fibreglass is an example of a composite. This product is strong, stiff and ductile.

Q4. What are semiconductors?

Ans. These are the substances that display properties intermediate between conducts and insulators. Some of the most prominent semiconducting crystals are Silicon and Germanium.