- Beech-finishes well, used for furniture, toys and kitchen utensils.
- Oak-stains on contact with steel, tough, used in the garden.
- Ash-can bend if steamed, used for tool handles and sports equipment.
- Pine-easy to use, cheap, used for building frames but needs protecting outdoors.
- Cedar-expensive and light but weak, used outdoors.
- Plywood-veneers glued together, used for furniture and toys
- Blockboard-strips of softwood glued together on sides and veneer covering, strong and stable.
- MDF-a solid and stable board, used for furniture, kitchen units and flooring.
- Chipboard-difficult to join and not very strong, easily damaged by water, used in kitchens.
- Hardboard-Cheap flat board, flexible so needs supporting, used in cupboards backs and drawers.
Ferrous and non-ferrous metals
Ferrous:group of metals that contain iron and varying amounts of carbon. Normally magnetic.
- Cast iron-machinery or car brakes.
- Mild steel-widely available at moderate prices, nails, cars.
- Medium carbon steel-strong and hard, garden tools and springs.
- High carbon steel-very hard and difficult to cut, used for scissors and chisels.
- Stainless steel-very good resistance to corrosion, used for sinks, cutlery dishes etc.
- High speed steel-resistant to friction, very hard, used for drills, lathes, milling cutters.
Non-ferrous:group of metals that do not contain iron, such as gold.
- Copper-good conductor of heat and electricity, used for roofing and electrical equipment.
- Aluminium-strong and light, used for kitchen foil and pans.
- Zinc-very weak and heavy, used for galvanising products to protect rust.
Alloys:metals formed by mixing two or more metals that has improved characteristics.
- Brass-copper(65%) and zinc(35%) andheavy and hard, used for castings, garden ornaments, taps and valves etc.
- Bronze-copper(80-90%) and tin/nickel/aluminium, used for gears and cast sculptures/statues.
Thermoplastics:become soft and pliable when heated and can be reheated as often as required.
- PET-bottles;moderate chemical resistance.
- HDPE-crates, bowls, pipes; strong and stiff, excellent chemical resistance, easily coloured.
- PVC-pipes, guttering; good chemical and water resistance.
- LDPE-shampoo bottles, toys, carrier bags; tough and flexible.
- ABS-phone cases, safety helmets; high impact strength, lightweight.
Thermosetting plastics:soft and pliable the first time they're heated but a chemical change occurs on cooling and they then become rigid, non-flexible plastics and cannot be reheated and changed.
- Urea formaldehyde-rigid, brittle, heat resistant, conducts electricity; used for plugs and switches.
- Phenol formaldehyde-dark, hard, quiet brittle, very good heat resistance; used for saucepan handles.
- Epoxy resins-good chemical wear and heat resistance, adhesive to many surfaces; surface coatings, adhesives.
Smart Materials and Nano Materials
- Polymorph-reactive capacity is to change from a solid to a mouldable state when warm water (60°C) is applied; comes in plastic granules.
- Thermochromic pigments-added to plastics before moulding; reactive capacity is to change colour when its temperature changes; used for babies spoons.
- There are many nanomaterials being developed in research and development departments all over the world. It is seen as the future of materials development.
- It makes materials lighter, stiffer and stronger to improve the quality of the products.