Glossary: Materials properties

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This glossary supports teachers and students with some of the technical language used in the Submarine STEM unit of work.

Brittle: Materials that have a tendency to break easily or suddenly without stretching or bending first.

Ceramics: Ceramics are not shiny unless glazed, hard, often brittle, heavy, can be any colour (often white, pale brown to dark brown), cold to the touch.

Conductivity: How well a material conducts heat and electricity.

Corrosion resistance: The ability to withstand environmental attack and decay.

Density: Density is mass per unit volume. The unit of density is the Kg per metre cubed.

Ductility: The ability to be pulled into a thin wire or threads. Good examples are gold, copper and brass.

Elastics: The ability of a material to return to its original shape after a force has been applied and removed.

Flexibility: The ability to cope with bending forces without breaking.

Hardness: A measure of how easily a material can be scratched or dented.

Malleability: The ability to shape a material by applying pressure or a force. Good examples are lead, gold and copper.

Metals: Metals are shiny, hard, heavy, good conductors, can be polished and are cold to the touch.

Plastics: Materials that change shape permanently when small forces are applied. Plasticine and clay are good examples.

Stiffness: The ability to resist bending.

Strength: The ability of a material to withstand forces.

Tough: Materials that absorb forces – the opposite to brittle materials.

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