Materials - Which is better: Man made or Natural?
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Materials: Which is better: Man made or Natural? Students like myself need to know what materials are available, how they behave in use and how they can be worked or processed during manufacture and construction. Having a good understanding of these will help me to select suitable materials for my products. In choosing materials for a particular project, I will need to consider their physical and working properties, so that I am able to decide which material is best and which method of processing is required in order to turn raw materials into finished products. I have to use a procedure called product analysis. This involves analysing and existing product in order to identify the materials that have been used, the properties that make them suitable for the task for which they have been designed as well as an awareness of the processes used in their manufacture, construction and assembly. All man-made materials are derived from one or several naturally found materials. History of materials Early human history is divided into eras named after the materials that were predominantly used at the time. The Stone Age, Copper age, Bronze Age and Iron Age suggest how important these materials were in the development of early technology.
They can be softened by annealing or hardened by cold working. They have a lower melting point than ferrous metals. Examples are, aluminium, copper, lead, tin, brass, nickel alloys, silver, gold, zinc. Ceramics Ceramics and be crystalline or amorphous (glassy). They are very complicated combinations of metallic, non metallic including natural elements. All clays are plastic until they are fired when they become hard and durable. They are good electrical insulators. When glazed they are hygienic. There are three main types: China/Porcelain - An elegant fine material. White and smooth, it is a very hard, strong material. Earthenware - A good general-purpose material, you can glaze it or finish it with oxides. It is coarser than china but is finer than stoneware. It is porous unless it is glazed. Stoneware - This has a coarse texture unless glazed. It is a hard material which is a favourite with studio potters, as it is no porous and only needs glazing for hygienic purposes. Plastics/Polymers Polymers such as rubbers and plastics are organic structures. They can be natural, modified, or synthetic. Synthetic polymers are produced from coal, gas and oil. Most plastics have good electrical and chemical resistance, they are light in weight, durable, and have good strength to weight ratios.
the way it behaves under certain conditions. Although many of these words have precise meanings, they are often used in a very general way. These words are; appearance, weight, durability, rigid, flexible, toughness, brittleness, hardness, softness, malleable, ductility, elasticity, strength, conductivity, cost, and availability. I have to look at things like colour and texture, as they can influence the way things look. I have to see if it will be fixed or if it will be carried, as these factors could be very important. Weight in the right place might be needed for balance and stability. I have to look at how long a material will last before it is affected by its environment, and how much energy the material can absorb. After looking at all the information, and thinking about what materials I use and how I use them, I have decided that the most useful materials are natural. These were around at the beginning of time when man didn't even exist. Apart from using these for products, we eat them and use them in everyday life. If there wasn't wood to burn for fire, there would not have been various man made materials. Man-made materials are necessary in everyday life, but not as necessary as natural materials. Claire Weller 12.9
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