Selection and properties of materials

Selection and Properties of Materials

Ferrous Metals

  • Includes iron and its alloys, most commonly steel.
  • Known for their strength and durability.
  • Often used in construction, automotive industry and manufacturing of tools.
  • Tend to corrode or rust when exposed to air and moisture.

Non-ferrous Metals

  • Metals other than iron or steel, such as aluminium, copper, brass, lead, and zinc.
  • Generally more resistant to corrosion and are lighter than ferrous metals.
  • Common uses include electrical wiring (copper) and food/beverage cans (aluminium).


  • Also known as plastics, are made up of large, repeating chains of molecules.
  • Tend to be lightweight, resilient, and can be molded into different shapes
  • Used in a wide variety of applications due to their versatility, from packaging to automotive components.


  • Hard, brittle materials made by firing at high temperatures.
  • Are good insulators of heat and electricity and highly resistant to wear, heat, and chemical attack.
  • Commonly used in products like bricks, glass, and pottery.


  • Made from two or more different materials that are combined to harness their individual properties.
  • Have a mix of properties from the constituent materials, such as strength, lightweight, or resistance to heat/corrosion.
  • Widely used in aerospace, automotive industries, and sports equipment.

Selection based on Properties of Materials

  • Always consider properties of materials when making a selection for a specific application.
  • These properties include density, ductility, malleability, hardness, strength, thermal conductivity, and electrical conductivity among others.
  • Also take into consideration any processing requirements or specific environmental conditions the material will be exposed to.