Types Of Materials

Types Of Materials

Here is a quick look at some of the types of materials commonly used in materials science.


A ceramic is a non-metallic material composed of inorganic molecules, normally prepared by heating and subsequent cooling.

Many common ceramics are made up of oxides or nitride compounds and are crystalline with long range molecular order. Other ceramics are partially or fully amorphous, with no long range molecular order; these are typically classified as glassy materials.


Composites are mixtures of two or more materials.

Composites are the mixture of two materials, which in combination, offer superior properties to the materials alone. Structural composites usually refer to the use of fibers which are embedded in a plastic. These composites offer high strength with very little weight.


Concrete is a mixture made up of water, sand, gravel, crushed stone, and cement.

The ingredients are mixed together thoroughly, and are poured into a form. After the concrete is completely dry, it has excellent strength.

Electronic / Optical

Electronic/optical materials conduct electricity or light.

These materials may be metals, ceramics or polymers. These materials are carefully formulated to control the amount of electricity or light which passes through them.


Glass is hard, brittle, noncrystalline, more or less transparent substance.

Glass usually consists of a mixture of silicates or sometimes borates or phosphates formed by fusion of silica or of oxides of boron or phosphorus with a flux and a stabilizer into a mass that cools to a rigid condition without crystallization.


Metals are malleable, reflective, and electrically conductive material.

Metals are materials that are easily shaped by forming. They are excellent conductors of electricity and heat. Metals have an orderly arrangement of atoms, resulting in a crystalline structure.

Polymers/ Plastics

Plastics/polymers are made up of millions of repeated links to make a long molecule.

Polymers use carbon atoms in very long chains. The carbon atoms may be attached to other carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen atoms. Polymers may or may not have an orderly arrangement of atoms.


Wood is a composite material made from lignin and cellulose.

Wood makes use of lignin as a polymer and cellulose as a fiber to form a composite. The lignin holds the cellulose in place so that the wood can carry loads.Wood has excellent structural properties, in light of its low weight and high strength.