Properties of Materials

By Mona Kumari|Updated : May 4th, 2022

Properties of Materials: Materials are probably more deep-seated in our culture than most folks realize. Each section of our everyday lives is influenced to one degree or another by materials. In order to pick appropriate materials, and process techniques for specific applications, you need to have information about the properties of materials and perceive how the structure affects the properties of materials.
Throughout history, material advancement has gone hand-in-hand with socio-economic advancements. The Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age were all vital materials and socio-economic periods in humankind's development. Before we tend to get into the properties of materials, let's perceive what’s material.

Table of Content

What is Material?

Objects are made up of matter, referred to as Material. Materials are classified primarily based upon their properties like heat capacity, strength, Toughness, Hardness, Brittleness, malleability, ductility, Resilience, Fatigue and thermal conductivity etc. Materials have a broad range of use. So, materials are also classified on the basis of their industrial uses. The science dealing with the study of material is termed materials science and therefore The process used for determining Materials for a selected application is termed Material Selection.

What Is Meant By Properties of Materials

Properties of materials are vital to ensure correct design and give us insight into the material's mechanical performance beneath specific conditions. Understanding the basics is the key to choosing the correct material and Properties like shape and mass may be different for different objects, even when they are made of the same material.

Materials have a wide range of properties. However, scientifically the physical and chemical properties are considered. Physical properties might additionally be classified into electrical, magnetic, thermal, and mechanical properties. 

Some of the key mechanical properties of materials are as follows-

  • Elasticity: Ability of the material to resume its original form after removal of external force.
  • Thermal Conductivity: The ability to conduct heat is termed the thermal conductivity of a material. Materials having high thermal conductivity can effectively transfer and take up heat from the surroundings.
  • Density: It is described as the mass of the material per unit volume. It is an intensive property of a material.
  • Ductility: Ability of a material to be drawn into thin wires. The ductility of steel varies depending on the types and levels of alloying elements present. 
  • Malleability: Ability to be drawn into thin sheets once rolled. Examples of malleable metals are zinc, iron, aluminium, copper, gold, and silver.

Classification of Materials Based on Properties of Materials

Materials can be classified into several categories. Classification of materials helps us in ascertaining which two materials are similar in nature. It additionally helps in dividing the materials based on their composition and their properties.


  • Metals: The materials belonging to this group are stiff, strong, fusible and ductile in nature like gold, iron, copper and nickel etc.
  • Ceramics: This group of materials has metallic and non-metallic compounds, largely oxides, nitrides, and carbides. Ceramics are relatively stiff and strong but also brittle and susceptible to fracture.
  • Polymers: This group of materials includes plastic and rubber materials such as polyethene, polyvinyl chloride etc. polymers are not as stiff and strong as metals or ceramics and have low densities. The main limitation of polymers is that polymers chemically decompose once exposed to sunlight or harsh environments for a longer period of time.
  • Composites: Composite materials are a combination of two materials with totally different physical and chemical properties. Most of these are man-made and have a high strength to weight quantitative relation.

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  • The mechanical and physical properties of materials are determined by their chemical composition and their internal structure, like crystal structure or grain size. Mechanical properties may be greatly stirred by processing due to the discontinuity of the internal structure.

  • In forming materials, understanding the material's properties can better predict the manufacturing result. For stamping and forming operations and for several products, a profile of the material will facilitate the detection of variations in materials from the suppliers.

  • Material properties are physical, chemical, or mechanical constituents of a selected product that would decide its functionality and manufacturing ability. This would signify that the material properties of a product would specifically characterize the capabilities of the products in all aspects.

  • The vital properties of the material are physical properties: It comprises colour, gleam, size and shape, density, elastic and thermal conductivity etc.

  • Bond Force determines the modulus of elasticity (or Young's modulus) of a substance. Correspondingly, stronger bonds will allow a material to withstand higher temperatures before the bonds break.

  • The magnetic properties of the materials are those which determine the ability of material to be suitable for a particular magnetic Application. Some of the typical magnetic properties of materials are listed below-

    • Permeability
    • Retentivity or Magnetic Hysteresis
    • Coercive force
    • Reluctance





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