The combined knowledge of materials from materials science and materials engineering enable engineers to convert materials into products needed by the society.
Classification of Materials
Solid materials have conveniently been grouped into three basic classifications, namely, i) metallic materials ii) polymeric materials, and iii) ceramics materials: based primarily on chemical make-up and atomic structure.
1. Metallic Materials
Metallic materials are normally combination of one or more metallic elements and may also contain some non-metallic elements like C, N, O, etc. Metals have a crystalline structure in which the atoms are arranged in an orderly manner. They are quite strong, yet deformable, which accounts for their extensive use in structural applications. Metals are commonly divided into two classes namely, i) Ferrous Metals and ii) Non-Ferrous Metals.
2. Polymeric Materials
Polymeric materials include the familiar plastic and rubber materials. Many of them are organic compounds that are chemically based on carbon, hydrogen, and other non-metallic elements. They are mostly non-crystalline, poor conductors of electricity.
3. Ceramic Materials
Ceramics are compounds of metallic and non-metallic elements. They are most frequently oxides, nitrides, and carbides. Ceramic materials can be crystalline, non-crystalline or mixture of both. They are typically insulative and have resistant to high temperatures.
Composite materials are mixtures of two or more materials. Usually the components do not dissolve in each other and can physically be identified by an interface between components. Two outstanding types of modern composite materials used for engineering application are fiber-glass-reinforcing material in a polyester or epoxy matrix and carbon fibers in an epoxy matrix.
Electronic Materials are extremely important types of materials for advanced engineering applications. The most important electronic material is pure silicon. Furthermore, the electrical characteristics of these materials are extremely sensitiv to the presence of minute concentrations of impurity atoms, where concentration may be controlled over very small spatial regions.
Bio-materials are employed in components implanted into the human body for replacement of diseased of damaged body parts. These materials must not produce toxic substances and must be compatible with body tissues.
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