Classification of Materials


Common engineering materials that come within the scope of Material Science may be classified broadly into the following three types:-

  1. Metals (Ferrous and Non-Ferrous)
  2. Ceramics
  3. Organic Polymers



Important Characteristics

Common Examples of Engineering use

Metals and Alloys

Lusture, Hardness, Resistance to Corrosion, Thermal and Electrical Conductivity, Malleability, Stiffness and Property of Magnetism.

Iron and Steels, Aluminium, Copper, Zinc, Magnesium, Brass, Bronze, Invar, Super Alloys, Super-conductors, etc.


Thermal Resistance, Brittleness, Opaqueness to Light, Electrical Insulation, High-temperature Strength, abrasiveness, Resistance to Corrosion.

Silica, Glass, Cement, Concrete, Refractories, Silicon Carbide, Boron Nitride abrasives, Ferrites, Insulators, Garnets, etc.

Organic Polymers

Soft, Light in weight, Dimensionally unstable, Poor Conductors of Heat and Electricity, Ductile, Combustible, Low-thermal Resistance.

Plastics – Poly Vinyl Chloride, Poly Tetra Fluoroethylene, Polycarbonates.

Natural and Synthetic Fibers – Nylon, Terylene, Leather, etc.

Other uses – Explosives, Refrigerants, Insulators, Lubricants, Detergents, Fuels, Vitamins, Medicines, adhesives, etc.

Latest Comments
  1. Shilpa Sharma

    Please shed some light on Composite Materials.

    • Metallurgist

      Composite materials are materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties, that when combined, produce a material with characteristics different from the individual components. The individual components remain separate and distinct within the finished structure.

      Composite materials are generally used for buildings, bridges and structures such as boat hulls, race car bodies, shower stalls, bathtubs, and storage tanks, imitation granite and cultured marble sinks and countertops. The most advanced examples perform routinely on spacecraft in demanding environments.

  2. Kaushal Dhami

    Hi, it is a very important and useful info for me. Thank you for making this website.

  3. Laura

    Metals resistant to corrosion?? what about rusting then?

    • Metallurgist

      All of the metals corrode. Rusting is a word which is reserved for iron oxidizing, but the other metals will also form oxides. There are many different kinds of steels, some which rust more easily than others. Stainless steel, for example, pretty much doesn’t rust at all, but it has significant amounts of other elements, usually chromium and nickel, in it.

      Aluminum is fairly resistant to damaging corrosion, but it forms a thin oxide layer very quickly, which makes a hard barrier to prevent further oxygen from coming in to interact with the remaining aluminum. This is one reason why aluminum is a favorite in structural coatings (like aluminum siding on houses and aluminum screen doors — they do not fall apart when they form a coating of corrosion). The thin oxide layer is enough to ruin electrical contacts, however, which is why it’s now illegal to make home electrical wiring from aluminum. Copper turns green or black when it oxidizes, and I think the zinc makes a white powder.

      Other metals that do not corrode easily or at all that I know of are Platinum and Gold which are very resistant to chemical attack of most kinds.

  4. Tarun Saraswat

    Sir, what about whisker reinforced plastics?

  5. Shivani

    Hi, I’m Shivani and I want to know the main differenc between plate n sheet in mechanical metallurgy.

  6. kaggwa

    i would like to help me to give me the classification and characterization of materials in relation to materials science

  7. Rahul Dhengre

    sir..will u please give mi a detail claassificatio of engineering matrials….including steel, cast irons classification..

  8. esse

    as a metallurgical engineer,its desired to select material for design and construction of anti burgary frames of a house.list the basic considerations you must take,to facilitate your msterial shored

  9. Shakoor Ahmad

    nice, it is a good activities.

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