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Synopsis Some materials occur naturally, like wood, rubber, rock, cotton, silk and wool while others are produced by humans from natural materials, for example glass, plastic and ceramics. These materials have different properties which determine their usage. In this topic, you will be introduced to natural materials and manufactured materials, and their uses. You will also compare and contrast their properties and relate these properties to everyday uses of materials. Learning Outcomes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Identify natural and processed materials State the properties of natural materials State the properties of manufactured materials Compare and contrast the properties of natural materials and manufactured materials Explain the uses of natural and manufactured materials Relate the uses of materials to their properties


Figure 1.1 Overview of content CONTENT

1.1 Natural Materials A natural material is any substance that is produced by natural processes. The main sources of natural material are derived from plants, animals, or the ground. Minerals and the metals that can be extracted are also considered as natural materials. Some of the properties of natural materials are: It is usually valuable It is pure and natural It can easily decompose and degrade It is derived from plants, animals, or from the ground

Figure 1.2 Natural materials (Source:

Some examples of natural materials are: Soil Rubber Petroleum (Fuel) Inorganic materials (stone) Composites (clay, porcelain) Wood (rattan, bamboo, bark ) Metal (copper, bronze, iron, gold, silver) Natural fibers (wool, silk, cotton, flax, hemp, jute, kapok)

There are many uses of natural materials. They are chosen to make certain objects because of their properties. Wood, for example is used to make furniture, frame of doors. It is used to make furniture because its moderate hardness, elasticity and toughness make it possible to shape them by cutting with steel tools such as saws, chisels and planes. When nails or screws are driven into wood, they are gripped very securely and the wood does not usually split open. Wood is a very poor thermal conductor, so it helps to conserve energy when used in doors and window frames. Metals can be used in making structures for building. They are shiny, hard and strong materials. Petroleum can be used in manufacturing detergent and plastic. Natural fibers such as cotton, silk and wool are widely used in making clothes because they are strong, durable and have a smooth and soft texture.

Surf the Internet (1 hour)

Access the internet to gather information on other uses of natural materials. Relate their uses to their properties and discuss why these materials are used for making the objects.

1.2 Manufactured Materials Manufactured materials are made by processes which result in raw materials being transformed into different kinds of substances through chemical processes. It is necessary to distinguish carefully between the materials or substances of which an object is made of. For example: stone is a natural material and a stone pebble on a beach is a natural object because it is not shaped by human activity. A cut stone building-block or a roofing slate is a manufactured object although both are made of natural materials. Types of manufactured materials include alloys, plastics, composite materials, industrial chemicals, soaps and detergents.

Figure 1.3 Manufactured materials (Source: Some of the properties of manufactured materials are: Durable Light weight High Strength Design for flexibility Doesnt decompose and degrade easily It is usually made from several natural materials Can be created by physical and chemical processes

When we make something, we have to choose materials which have the right properties. Figure 1.4 compares the everyday uses of manufactured materials on the basis of their properties. Manufactured Materials Examples Pewter Alloys Stainless steel Styrenebutadiene rubber nylon Soda lime glass for bottles ceramics Composition of Natural materials 97% tin and 3% antimony 74% iron, 18% chromium, 8% nickel Styrene, butadiene Diamine, dicarboxylic acid Sand(silicon dioxide) Clay (aluminium oxide, silicon dioxide, sand, feldspar) Nitrogen gas and hydrogen gas Sulphur, oxygen, water Animal fats and vegetable oils petroleum Properties Does not corrode, shiny, attractive Does not rust, hard, strong Can be moulded under heat and pressure, strong and light strong, cheap, extremely durable Easy to mould and shape, transparent, low melting point Good insulator of electricity and heat, inert to chemicals, hard and strong but brittle Colourless, pungent, very soluble in water, does not burn in air Strong acid, non-volatile, corrosive Cleaning agent in soft water Cleaning agent in soft and hard water


Composite materials

Ammonia Industrial chemicals Sulphuric acid Soap Soaps and detergents Detergent

Figure 1.4 Uses of manufactured materials and their properties

Thinking (2 hours)

Based on your study, construct a graphic organiser to compare and contrast between properties of natural and manufactured materials.

Discussion ( 2 hours)

Observe the pictures below carefully and state the natural materials and the manufactured materials needed to make them. Suggest other possible materials that could be used and state whether these items are natural or manufactured materials.

References (natural materials) http: // ( uses of ceramics) (natural and manufactured materials) (manufactured materials)