Properties of materials: wood, metal, ceramic and glass

Properties of materials: wood, metal, ceramic and glass
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Properties of wood:

  • DENSITY: this is an excellent indicator of wood strength. Density refers to how thick a piece of wood is; the thicker it is the stronger it will be.
  • THERMAL PROPERTIES/TEMPERATURE EFFECT: Although wood is an excellent heat insulator, its strength and other properties are affected adversely by exposure for extended periods to temperatures above about 37°
  • ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY: Timber is the most environmentally responsible building material. Timber has low production energy requirements and is a net carbon absorber. Timber is a renewable resource. Well-managed forests produce timber on a sustained continuous basis, with minimal adverse effects on soil and water values.
  • STRONG AND LIGHTWEIGHT: Timber is strong, light and reliable making timber construction simpler and safer than steel or concrete construction.
  • SAFE: Timber has low toxicity and therefore requires no special safety precautions to work with it, other than normal protection from dusts and splinters.
  • EASY TO INSTALL: Timber is one of the easiest engineering materials to install.
  • AFFORDABLE: comparatively, timber is cheaper that metal or concrete for construction.

Properties of Metals:

  • Density: this refers to the weight of the metal or its specific gravity
  • Fusibility: this is the ability of a metal to be melted when heated until it becomes liquid
  • Magnetism: the property of a metal which enables it attract iron
  • Ductility: this is ability of a metal to be drawn out r stretched without breaking
  • Conductivity of Heat: ability of a metal to transfer heat generated from one end to the other.
  • Fusibility: the ability of a metal to be melted when heated until they become liquid
  • Tenacity: the ability of a metal to withstand stress
  • Sound Test: the ability of a metal to give sound when struck
  • Colour or Lustre: the ability of a metal to have a polished surface
  • Toughness: the ability of a metal to resist bending

Properties of ceramics:

  • They can break easily;
  • They can withstand high temperature;
  • Ceramics are less dense than most metals;
  • They can be easily decorated;
  • They are good electric insulators;
  • They can withstand heavy compressive loads;
  • They are not affected acids, water or oxygen.

Properties of Glass:

  • Absorbs heat: Glass absorbs and transmits heat which means that if you heat a glass then the temperature of the contents inside of it will react.
  • Glasses are light in weight
  • They have good thermal and electrical resistance
  • Durability: Glass is durable due to the strong bonds between the molecules in it. Its strength and its durability mainly depend on its thickness.
  • Glass is static: Glass does not react with other materials and will not be a reactive to other materials and will not be decomposed by most acids.
  • Transparency: Glass is a transparent substance which means you see through it.


  1. Mention 4 professions that can be carried out in a workshop.
  2. Why should workshop users use goggles when carrying out some specific tasks in the workshop?
  3. List 5 workshop safety precautions.
  4. As related to metal, differentiate between ductility and fusibility.
  5. Describe how metal is a conductor of heat.
  6. At what temperature does an average wood lose its ability to withstand heat?
  7. Outline three important properties of glass.
  8. Between glass and ceramic, which is more commonly used as a good electrical insulator?
  9. Why is glass a durable material?
  10. What term refers to the ability of a material to withstand stress?



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