properties of materials
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Properties of Materials: Classification of properties of the material

Properties of materials

There are different types of materials available around us with specific properties. Some examples of everyday materials are metals, plastics, fabric, and glass. These materials make up the objects around us for our use, and each of these materials has, unlike properties or characteristics that can be observed or tested. Scientists and engineers investigate these materials properties, experiment with them and compare their properties. After that, they relate the results to possible uses.

When we discussing the properties of a material, we are talking about the features we can measure, sense, test or control. For example, if we have a piece of metal in front of us, we can identify its color or whether it is hard and shiny. Other results are shown by testing that this material is able to conduct heat and electricity. So these are some of the metal’s properties

Classification of properties of the material

Electrical Properties of Materials

Physical Properties of Materials

Chemical Properties of Materials

Thermal Properties of Materials

Magnetic Properties of Materials

Optical Properties of Materials

Mechanical Properties of Materials


1) Electrical Properties of engineering materials

Properties of Materials: Classification of properties of the material

Electrical properties define the ability to conduct electricity. Various electrical properties are Electrical conductivity, resistivity, and temperature coefficient of resistance, thermoelectricity dielectric strength

Some of the electrical properties of engineering materials are:

Electrical Resistivity

It is define as the property of material which resists flow of electric current through the material. Resistivity is measured in micro ohm centimetres units.

Electrical Conductivity

It is the property of a material that defines the ability of flow of electric current through the material. Electrical conductivity measure of how well the material accommodates the movement of an electric current. It is the ratio of current density to electric field strength. Electrical conductivity can be used for measuring the clarity of the water, examination for the proper heat treatment of metals and checking for heat damage in some materials.

Dielectric Strength

It is the property of a material that defines the ability of a material to withstand at high voltages. Usually, it is identified for insulating material to show their operating voltage. The material with high dielectric strength can withstand high voltage values.

Temperature Coefficient of Resistance

It indicates a change in resistance of material with the change in temperature. The resistance of conducting material changes with a change in temperature. As electrical conductivity values are reported at 20-degree centigrade. This is done because the conductivity and resistivity of a material depend on temperature. Thus conductivity of materials decreases with increases in temperature.


If a link is formed by joining two metals is heated, a small voltage of the order of millivolt is produced. This phenomenon is called thermoelectricity or thermoelectric effect. This effect is the basis of the operation of thermocouples and some temperature-dependent transducers.

2) Physical Properties of Materials

These are the properties of materials that can be observed without changing the identity of the material. Physical properties of metals are color, density, shape, and size, the specific gravity of the material, porosity, etc. Some of these are discussed below.

Density of Materials

Density is one of the fundamental physical properties of any material. The density of a material is defined as mass per unit volume. It is defined as ratio of mass and volume of the material. It is denoted by “ρ”. Its unit in the SI system is KG/m3. Density is important in many observations because most designs are limited by either size or weight.

Shape and Size

The dimension of any metal reflects the shape and size of material length, width, depth, height, etc. Also, it determines specific circular, rectangular, spherical, or any other section.

Specific Gravity of Materials

It is the ratio of the density of material with respect to the density of reference material or substance. It does not have any unit. Sometimes it is also called relative density. For any gravity, calculation water is considered as a reference element.

Porosity of Materials

When the material is in the melting state, it contains some dissolved gases with in the material. When the material is solidified these gases gets evaporate and leave behind voids. The porosity of materials signifies the number of voids in solid materials.

3) Chemical Properties of materials

Properties of Materials: Classification of properties of the material

Chemical properties are related to the changes in chemical composition requirement of material because it interacts with other substances. Chemical properties of materials are useful because most of the materials can react to form new materials when they come in contact with other substances. It is the deterioration of material by chemical reaction with its favorable environment.

4) Thermal Properties of materials

Properties of Materials: Classification of properties of the material

Engineering materials are important in daily life because of their multipurpose structural properties. The thermal properties of these materials are diverse, so used in different applications. Thermal properties are the properties of the material that are related to its conductivity. These properties are displayed by a material when the heat is passed through it. Thermal properties of the material state the behaviour of the material under thermal load. There are different thermal properties like thermal expansion, thermal conductivity, specific heat, melting point, thermal diffusivity.

Melting point

The melting point is the required temperature at which material goes from solid to liquid state in a constant atmosphere. Melting point states as a transition point between solid and liquid phases. Melting point temperature depends on inter-atomic and intermolecular bonding nature. Therefore higher melting point temperature is shown by those materials having stronger bonds.

5) Magnetic Properties of Material

Properties of Materials: Classification of properties of the material

Magnetic properties of the material are those which define the ability of material for a particular magnetic application. Basis of magnetism lies in orbital and spin motions of electrons and the way electrons interact with one another


The property of magnetic material is the property which shows that how easily magnetic flux builds up in the material. It is given by the ratio of magnetic flux density to magnetizing force producing this magnetic flux density.


 Hysteresis is an important material property by which it is firstly becomes magnetized and then de-magnetization process. The absence of retrace ability of the magnetization curve is called hysteresis and is related to the existence of magnetic domains in material.

Coercive Force

Coercive force defined as the magnetizing force that is essential to deactivate completely magnetism in an electromagnet after the value of magnetizing force becomes zero.

Optical Properties

The optical properties of a material describe how it behaves when interacting with light. The optical properties of matter are studied in optical physics science; it’s a subfield of optics. The optical properties of matter include:

Photoluminescence (fluorescence)


Refraction and the material’s refraction index


Reflection and the material’s albedo or reflectance









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7) Mechanical Properties

Mechanical properties are the physical properties of the material that a material exhibits upon the application of forces. Examples of mechanical properties are the tensile strength, modulus of elasticity, elongation, hardness and fatigue limit.

8) In other property comes the following.

Acoustical properties

Atomic properties

Environmental properties

Manufacturing properties

Radiological properties

Dewakar Pandey
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