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Chapter 1.4 - Types of Materials Let us classify materials...

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MSE 2090: Introduction to Materials Science Chapter 1, Introduction 16 Types of Materials Let us classify materials according to the way the atoms are bound together (Chapter 2). Metals: valence electrons are detached from atoms, and spread in an 'electron sea' that "glues" the ions together. Strong, ductile, conduct electricity and heat well, are shiny if polished. Semiconductors: the bonding is covalent (electrons are shared between atoms). Their electrical properties depend strongly on minute proportions of contaminants. Examples: Si, Ge, GaAs. Ceramics: atoms behave like either positive or negative ions, and are bound by Coulomb forces. They are usually combinations of metals or semiconductors with oxygen, nitrogen or carbon (oxides, nitrides, and carbides). Hard, brittle, insulators. Examples: glass, porcelain. Polymers: are bound by covalent forces and also by weak van der Waals forces, and usually based on C and H. They decompose at moderate temperatures (100 – 400 C), and are lightweight. Examples: plastics rubber.
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