Bases of existence of properties in materials

The properties of material change matter to matter. Basically the properties of material depends on their chemical composition, electron configuration, atomic structure, impurities / imperfections, manufacturing process and mechanical heat treatment process. Chemical composition of material represents that the elements which are consisted in material. The chemical composition decides whether the material is organic or inorganic, acid or alkaline etc. Electron configuration represents the distribution of electron in atom over various shells and subshells. The electrons configuration decides the conductivity of material. Which decides whether the material is good or bad conductor of electricity. Magnetic properties of materials also depend on electron configuration of atom. The magnetic properties of material is very much affected by the distribution of electron in subshells and their spin direction. Atomic structure of material indicates the manner in which the atoms are connected to each other such as crystalline or amorphous structures.

The relationship between properties and atomic structure exists within material such as Metals, Ceramics and Polymers, is shown in table below.

Sl. No.Atomic StructureMetalsCeramicsPolymers (Plastic & rubber)
  1. Crystalline
  2. Non-crystalline
  3. Crystalline and Non Crystalline Phase
Non crystalline
2Bonding MetallicIonic and CovalentCovalent plus secondary
3Important properties
  • Excellent conductor of Heat
  • Excellent conductor of Electricity
  • Usually malleable & ductile
  • Opaque
  • Lustrous
  • Moderate to high melting point
  1. For Crystalline structure
    • Nonconductor of heat
    • Nonconductor of Electricity
    • Hard
    • High melting point
  2. For Non-crystalline
    • Nonconductor of heat
    • Nonconductor of Electricity
    • Hard
    • Brittle
    • No definite melting point
  3. For Crystalline & non crystalline phase
    • Very poor conductor of heat
    • Very poor conductor of electricity
    • Hard
    • Brittle
    • Low strength
    • High melting point
  • Very poor conductor of heat
  • Very poor conductor of Electricity
  • Low strength
  • Deformed plastically with small load
  • Low melting point
Moreover, in bulk material the properties of materials is also effected by the nature and distribution of impurities or imperfections, either chemical or architectural. The impurities or imperfections effects the strength of material very much. The conductivity of metals is effected very much by impurities in metal. These impurities disturb the crystalline structure of metal and make it irregular. This irregularity in crystalline structure disturbs the movement of electrons through metal. Which results in reduction of conductivity of metal. A small level of impurities results in considerable reduction in conductivity of metal. The properties of material are also effected by manufacturing process as well as mechanical heat treatment processes i.e. Hardening, Annealing, age hardening, quenching, hot rolling, cold rolling etc. These mechanical heat treatment processes not only effect the mechanical properties of material but effect electrical properties also.

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