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Suitable materials

Introduction to Materials
This section will provide a basic introduction to materials and material fabrication processing. It is important that NDT personnel have some background in material science for a couple of reasons. First, nondestructive testing almost always involves the interaction of energy of some type (mechanics, sound, electricity, magnetism or radiation) with a material. To understand how energy interacts with a material, it is necessary to know a little about the material. Secondly, NDT often involves detecting manufacturing defects and service induced damage and, therefore, it is necessary to understand how defects and damage occur. This section will begin with an introduction to the four common types of engineering materials. The structure of materials at the atomic level will then be considered, along with some atomic level features that give materials their characteristic properties. Some of the properties that are important for the structural performance of a material and methods for modifying these properties will also be covered. In the second half of this text, methods used to shape and form materials into useful shapes will be discussed. Some of the defects that can occur during the manufacturing process, as well as service induced damage will be highlighted. This section will conclude with a summary of the role that NDT plays in ensuring the structural integrity of a component.

General Material Classifications
There are thousands of materials available for use in engineering applications. Most materials fall into one of three classes that are based on the atomic bonding forces of a particular material. These three classifications are metallic, ceramic and

polymeric. Additionally, different materials can be combined to create a composite material. Within each of these classifications, materials are often further organized into groups based on their chemical composition or certain physical or mechanical properties. Composite materials are often grouped by the types of materials combined or the way the materials are arranged together. Below is a list of some of the commonly classification of materials within these four general groups of materials. Metals Ferrous metals and alloys (irons, carbon steels, alloy steels, stainless steels, tool and die steels) Nonferrous metals and alloys (aluminum, copper, magnesium, nickel, titanium, precious metals, refractory metals, superalloys) Ceramics
• • • •

• • •

Thermoplastics plastics Thermoset plastics Elastomers

• • •

Glasses Glass ceramics Graphite Diamond

Reinforced plastics Metal-matrix composites Ceramic-matrix composites Sandwich structures Concrete

Each of these general groups will be discussed in more detail in the following pages.

Metals account for about two thirds of all the elements and about 24% of the mass of the planet. Metals have useful properties including strength, ductility, high melting points, thermal and

Copper . Metallic materials have free electrons that are free to move . From the periodic table. Refractory materials are used for the highest temperature (> 2000° F) applications. and toughness.Steel alloys are used for strength critical applications Aluminum . high ductility. Common Metallic Materials • • • • • • Iron/Steel . The key feature that distinguishes metals from non-metals is their bonding.Nickel alloys are used for still higher temperatures (~1500-2000° F) applications or when good corrosion resistance is required. readily available. A few of the common metals and their typical uses are presented below. including high electrical and thermal conductivity. Titanium . or when good corrosion resistance is required Nickel . when component weight is a concern. and good corrosion resistance. and recyclable. it can be seen that a large number of the elements are classified as being a metal. inexpensive.Aluminum and its alloys are used because they are easy to form.Copper and copper alloys have a number of properties that make them useful.Titanium alloys are used for strength in higher temperature (~1000° F) application.electrical conductivity.

" The word ceramic comes the from Greek word "keramikos". floor and wall tile.easily from one atom to the next. For example. More on the structure of metals will be discussed later. is fabricated into products through the application of heat. and brittleness. however. The existence of these free electrons has a number of profound consequences for the properties of metallic materials. and displays such characteristic properties as hardness. calcium and oxygen (calcia . they will demonstrate excellent strength and hardness properties. The broad categories or segments that make up the ceramic industry can be classified as: • • Structural clay products (brick. electrical porcelain. Due to ceramic materials wide range of properties. roofing and wall tile.) Whitewares (dinnerware. they are used for a multitude of applications. also display magnetic properties. ceramics can be dense or lightweight. strength. like superconductors. low electrical conductivity. which means "pottery. Ceramics A ceramic has traditionally been defined as “an inorganic. they are often brittle in nature." They are typically crystalline in nature and are compounds formed between metallic and nonmetallic elements such as aluminum and oxygen (alumina-Al2O3). Some ceramics. Depending on their method of formation. flue linings.CaO). and silicon and nitrogen (silicon nitride-Si3N4).) . Ceramics can also be formed to serve as electrically conductive materials or insulators. They are also more resistant to high temperatures and harsh environments than metals and polymers. sewer pipe. Typically. nonmetallic solid that is prepared from powdered materials. etc. etc. metallic materials tend to be good electrical conductors because the free electrons can move around within the metal so freely.

) abrasives are used for grinding. The word polymer literally means "many parts.) Advanced ceramics o Structural (wear parts. diamond. substrates. bridges. Covalent and ionic bonds are much stronger than in metallic bonds and. ceramics. integrated circuit packages. dams. petroleum. the two most common chemical bonds for ceramic materials are covalent and ionic. etc. piezoelectrics. buildings. cutting tools. or pressure blasting of materials) Cements (for roads." Two industrially important polymeric materials are plastics and elastomers. such as polyethylene and nylon. and etc. and engine components) o Electrical (capacitors. there are many types of plastics. magnets and superconductors) o Coatings (engine components. and industrial wear parts) o Chemical and environmental (filters. etc. and catalyst supports) The atoms in ceramic materials are held together by a chemical bond which will be discussed a bit later. this is why ceramics are brittle and metals are ductile.• • • • • Refractories (brick and monolithic products used in metal. cutting. Briefly though. and chemicals industries) Glasses (flat glass (windows). . energy conversion. pressed and blown glass (dinnerware). and advanced/specialty glass (optical fibers)) Abrasives (natural (garnet. fused alumina. Plastics are a large and varied group of synthetic materials which are processed by forming or molding into shape. catalysts. membranes. diamond. glass. cements. glass fibers (home insulation). insulators. polishing. Just as there are many types of metals such as aluminum and copper. container glass (bottles). Polymers A polymeric solid can be thought of as a material that contains many chemically bonded parts or units which themselves are bonded together to form a solid. bioceramics. cutting tools. Elastomers or rubbers can be elastically deformed a large amount when a force is applied to them and can return to their original shape (or almost) when the force is released. lapping.) and synthetic (silicon carbide. generally speaking.

‘thermosetting’ polymers can not be melted or remelted. strong/lightweight frames. or exhibit excellent resistance to the conduction of electrical current. Alternately. There are also a number of specialized engineering polymers. and unsaturated polyesters. Polymers are primarily produced from petroleum or natural gas raw products but the use of organic substances is growing. Thermoplastic polymers comprise the four most important commodity materials – polyethylene. The polymer molecule is a long chain of covalent-bonded atoms and secondary bonds then hold groups of polymer chains together to form the polymeric material. each of which retains its own distinctive . Rubber is a natural occurring polymer. resist atmospheric and other forms of corrosion. polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride. depending on how they are structurally and chemically bonded. polyurethanes. and underwater cables that are 20 times stronger than steel. However.Polymers have many properties that make them attractive to use in certain conditions. amino and phenolic resins. thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics. The polymer plastics can be divided into two classes. Thermosetting polymers include alkyds. polypropylene. The term ‘thermoplastic’ indicates that these materials melt on heating and may be processed by a variety of molding and extrusion techniques. epoxies. Composites A composite is commonly defined as a combination of two or more distinct materials. Many polymers: • • • • are less dense than metals or ceramics. Kevlar is used in bullet-proof vests. The super-material known as Kevlar is a man-made polymer. offer good compatibility with human tissue. most polymers are created by engineering the combination of hydrogen and carbon atoms and the arrangement of the chains they form.

or polymer. concrete is a composite because it is a mixture of Portland cement and aggregate. The reinforcing phase is the fibers. Particle . to create a new material with properties that cannot be achieved by any of the components acting alone. Fiberglass sheet is a composite since it is made of glass fibers imbedded in a polymer. For example. material. Many metal-matrix composites would fall into the dispersion strengthened composite category. ceramic. it can be determined that a wide range of engineering materials fall into this category. particle reinforced and fiber reinforced. The reinforcing material and the matrix material can be metal. sheets. or tough. These categories are dispersion strengthened. Typically. Composite materials are said to have two phases. Dispersion strengthened composites have a fine distribution of secondary particles in the matrix of the material. which will be discussed later). reinforcing materials are strong with low densities while the matrix is usually a These particles impede the mechanisms that allow a material to deform. (These mechanisms include dislocation movement and slip. Some of the common classifications of composites are: • • • • • Reinforced plastics Metal-matrix composites Ceramic-matrix composites Sandwich structures Concrete Composite materials can take many forms but they can be separated into three categories based on the strengthening mechanism. or particles that are embedded in the matrix phase. Using this definition.

If the composite is designed and fabricated correctly. and ceramics behave differently than polymers. the fiber is the primary load-bearing component. Metals behave differently than ceramics. The downside is that such composites are often more expensive than conventional materials. Structure of Materials It should be clear that all matter is made of atoms. From the periodic table. The properties of matter depend on which atoms are used and how they are bonded together. Fiberglass and carbon fiber composites are examples of fiber-reinforced composites. it combines the strength of the reinforcement with the toughness of the matrix to achieve a combination of desirable properties not available in any single conventional material. In fiber-reinforced composites. Some composites also offer the advantage of being tailorable so that properties.reinforced composites have a large volume fraction of particle dispersed in the matrix and the load is shared by the particles and the matrix. such as strength and stiffness. can easily be changed by changing amount or orientation of the reinforcement material. Most commercial ceramics and many filled polymers are particle-reinforced composites. . These same 100 atoms form thousands of different substances ranging from the air we breathe to the metal used to support tall buildings. it can be seen that there are only about 100 different kinds of atoms in the entire Universe.

and how the atoms are arranged and bonded must be known. thermal. The strength of metals suggests that these atoms are held together by strong bonds. physical. the type of atoms present. The microstructure and macrostructure can also affect these properties but they generally have a larger effect on mechanical properties and on the rate of chemical reaction. and the way the atoms are arranged. To understand the structure of a material. Let’s first look at atomic bonding. which includes features that cannot be seen. and optical properties. However. such as the types of bonding between the atoms. magnetic. Macrostructure. which includes features that can be seen using a microscope. The properties of a material offer clues as to the structure of the material. The three most common major classification of structural. electrical. these bonds must also allow atoms to move since metals are also usually formable. listed generally in increasing size. which includes features that can be seen with the naked eye) The atomic structure primarily affects the chemical. . are: Atomic structure.The structure of materials can be classified by the general magnitude of various features being considered. but seldom with the naked eye. Microstructure.

All chemical bonds involve electrons. and van der Waals Bonds) From elementary chemistry it is known that the atomic structure of any element is made up of a positively charged nucleus surrounded by electrons revolving around it. To determine the number of neutrons in an atom.Atomic Bonding (Metallic. it will try to find electrons from another atom so that it can fill its outer shell. it will tend to lose them to empty the shell. types of bond but the details are beyond the scope of this material. Covalent. The bond between two nonmetal atoms is usually a covalent bond. It is also known that electrons are present with different energies and it is convenient to consider these electrons surrounding the nucleus in energy “shells. On the next few pages. Atoms like to have a balanced electrical charge. with an atomic number of 12. These elements are usually described as nonmetals.” For example. Therefore. The atomic weight of an atom indicates how many protons and neutrons in the nucleus. These elements are metals. magnesium. the atomic number is simply subtracted from the atomic weight. the Metallic. If an atom has only a few electrons in a shell. Ionic. . When an atom has a nearly full electron shell. Where metal and nonmetal atom come together an ionic bond occurs. a metallic bond occurs. they usually have negatively charged electrons surrounding the nucleus in numbers equal to the number of protons. There are also other. An element’s atomic number indicates the number of positively charged protons in the nucleus. Atoms will stay close together if they have a shared interest in one or more electrons. less common. Covalent and Ionic bonds will be covered in more detail. When metal atoms bond. Atoms are at their most stable when they have no partially-filled electron shells. eight in the second shell and two in the outer shell. has two electrons in the inner shell.

The image below highlights a unit cell in a larger section of the lattice. The volume of atoms in a cell per the total volume of a cell is called the packing factor. The bcc structure is often the high temperature form of metals that are close-packed at lower temperatures.68. It is said to have a coordination number of 8. Body-Centered Cubic (BCC) Structure The body-centered cubic unit cell has atoms at each of the eight corners of a cube (like the cubic unit cell) plus one atom in the center of the cube (left image below). chromium. Some of the materials that have a bcc structure include lithium. barium. sodium. Since these structures are most common. alpha-iron and . The bcc unit cell consists of a net total of two atoms. there are 14 different types of crystal unit cell structures or lattices are found in nature. The bcc arrangement does not allow the atoms to pack together as closely as the fcc or hcp arrangements. they will be discussed in more detail. one in the center and eight eighths from corners atoms as shown in the middle image below (middle image below). FCC. The bcc unit cell has a packing factor of 0. face centered cubic (fcc) or Hexagonal Close Packed (hcp). However most metals and many other solids have unit cell structures described as body center cubic (bcc).Primary Metallic Crystalline Structures (BCC. potassium. Each of the corner atoms is the corner of another cube so the corner atoms are shared among eight unit cells. vanadium. HCP) As pointed out on the previous page.

When a few additional balls are tossed in the box. it is said to have a coordination number of 12. To picture packing arrangement. the planes of atoms must slip over each other. and this is more difficult in the bcc structure. such as introducing impurities or defects which make slipping more difficult. Face Centered Cubic (FCC) Structure The face centered cubic structure has atoms located at each of the corners and the centers of all the cubic faces (left image below). Each of the corner atoms is the corner of another cube so the corner atoms are shared among eight unit cells. The fcc unit cell consists of a net total of four atoms. When the metal is deformed. imagine a box filled with a layer of balls that are aligned in columns and rows.tungsten. It should be noted that there are other important mechanisms for hardening materials. each of its six face centered atoms is shared with an adjacent atom. The packing factor (the volume of atoms in a cell per the total volume of a cell) is 0. they will not balance directly on top of the balls in the first layer but instead will come to rest in the pocket created between four balls of the bottom layer.74 for fcc crystals. eight eighths from corners atoms and six halves of the face atoms as shown in the middle image above. The atoms from one layer nest themselves in the empty space between the atoms of the adjacent layer. In the fcc structure (and the hcp structure) the atoms can pack closer together than they can in the bcc structure. Some of the . Metals which have a bcc structure are usually harder and less malleable than close-packed metals such as gold. As more balls are added they will pack together to fill up all the pockets. The image below highlights a unit cell in a larger section of the lattice. These hardening mechanisms will be discussed latter. Since 12 of its atoms are shared. Additionally.

copper. The hcp structure has three layers of atoms. As shown in the middle image above. gold. In each the top and bottom layer. The middle layer has three atoms nestle in the triangular "grooves" of the top and bottom plane. lead. iridium. instead of being a cubic structure. Each of the 12 atoms in the corners of the top and bottom layers contribute 1/6 atom to the unit cell.metals that have the fcc structure include aluminum. The hexagonal structure of alternating layers is shifted so its atoms are aligned to the gaps of the preceding layer. there are six atoms in the hcp unit cell. There are six nearest neighbors in the same close packed layer. but only three of them can be filled by atoms. there are six atoms that arrange themselves in the shape of a hexagon and a seventh atom that sits in the middle of the hexagon. Hexagonal Close Packed (HPC) Structure Another common close packed structure is the hexagonal close pack. (See image below. The atoms from one layer nest themselves in the empty space between the atoms of the adjacent layer just like in the fcc structure. The coordination number of the atoms in this structure is 12. nickel. three in . Note that there are six of these "grooves" surrounding each atom in the hexagonal plane. the pattern is hexagonal. platinum and silver. The image on the right above attempts to show several hcp unit cells in a larger lattice. However.) The difference between the HPC and FCC structure is discussed later in this section. the two atoms in the center of the hexagon of both the top and bottom layers each contribute ½ atom and each of the three atom in the middle layer contribute 1 atom.

The two most common chemical bonds for ceramic materials are covalent and ionic. However. ceramics and related materials cover a wide range of objects. and chemical inertness. the atomic structures are often of low symmetry that gives some ceramics interesting electromechanical . titanium. which is the same as the fcc unit cell. This is called a compound. magnesium. This strong bonding also accounts for the less attractive properties of ceramics.the layer above and three in the layer below. Ceramics are a little more complex than metallic structures. A ceramic has traditionally been defined as “an inorganic. Ceramic Structures As discussed in the introduction. Also. Most ceramics are made up of two or more elements. cadmium.74. alumina (Al2O3) is a compound made up of aluminum atoms and oxygen atoms. Control of the microstructure can overcome inherent stiffness to allow the production of ceramic springs. high compressive strength. and ceramic composites which have been produced with a fracture toughness about half that of steel. For example. ceramic oxide (initially based on Y-Ba-Cu-O) is the basis for high temperature superconductivity. which is why metals were covered first. while ceramics are perceived as electrical and thermal insulators. such as low ductility and low tensile strength. The hcp structure is very common for elemental metals and some examples include beryllium. For example. This is why ceramics generally have the following properties: high hardness. it should be noted that the crystal structures of ceramics are many and varied and this results in a very wide range of properties. nonmetallic solid that is prepared from powdered materials and is fabricated into products through the application of heat. The bonding of atoms together is much stronger in covalent and ionic bonding than in metallic. Diamond and silicon carbide have a higher thermal conductivity than aluminum or copper. The packing factor is 0. The absence of free electrons is responsible for making most ceramics poor conductors of electricity and heat. zinc and zirconium.

properties like piezoelectricity. but other oxides are added to change certain physical characteristics or to lower the melting point. There is no sharp melting or freezing point. It goes from liquid to a soft plastic solid and finally becomes hard and brittle. Because of this unique property. bonding them together. Therefore. entirely crystalline. A network of silica tetrahedral chains form. rolled. Recall that when metal in the liquid state is cooled. Silica is the most important constituent of glass. The structure of most ceramics varies from relatively simple to very complex. In the latter case. or a combination of crystalline and glassy. a crystalline solid precipitates when the melting freezing point is reached. it can be blown into shapes. which is composed of a single silicon atom surrounded by four equidistant oxygen atoms. the structure of the nonmetallic atoms. The silicon atoms occupy the openings (interstitials) between the oxygen atoms and share four valence electrons with the oxygen atoms through covalent bonding. The main compositional classes of engineering ceramics are the oxides. The basic unit structure of this glass is the silica tetrahedron. Ceramic Glass Ceramics with an entirely glassy structure have certain properties that are quite different from those of metals. If pure silica (SiO2) is fused together. with a glassy material. Ceramic Crystalline or Partially Crystalline Material Most ceramics usually contain both metallic and nonmetallic elements with ionic or covalent bonds. forming chain or ring structures. which is used in sensors and transducers. and at high temperatures these chains easily slide past each other. The microstructure can be entirely glassy (glasses only). As the melt cools. The silica atom has four valence electrons and each of the oxygen atoms has two valence electrons so the silica tetrahedron has four extra valence electrons to share with adjacent tetrahedral. and the . Glassy behavior is related to the atomic structure of the material. However. nitrides and carbides. in addition to being cast. a glass called vitreous silica is formed on cooling. The silicate structures can link together by sharing the atoms in two corners of the SiO2 tetrahedrons. thermal vibrational energy decreases and the chains can not move as easily so the structure becomes more rigid. drawn and otherwise processed like a metal. the glassy phase usually surrounds small crystals. the structure the metallic atoms. as the liquid is cooled it becomes more and more viscous.

As with metals. It has an internal arrangement consisting of pyramid (tetrahedral or four-sided) units. Quartz is formed when the tetrahedra in this material are arranged in a regular. When silica tetrahedrons share three corner atoms.balance of charges produced by the valence electrons must be considered. The cubic and the hexagonal cells are most common. Additionally. they produce framework silicates (quartz. orderly fashion. In metals. the difference in radii between the metallic and nonmetallic ions plays an important role in the arrangement of the unit cell. the unit cell is used in describing the atomic structure of ceramics. they produce layered silicates (talc. Silicate Ceramics As mentioned previously. . In ceramics. When silica tetrahedrons share four comer atoms. brittle fracture rather than slip is common because both the arrangement of the atoms and the type of bonding is different. The fracture or cleavage planes of ceramics are the result of planes of regularly arranged atoms. kaolinite clay. tridymite). But if molten silica is cooled more rapidly. the silica structure is the basic structure for many ceramics. The building criteria for the crystal structure are: • • • maintain neutrality charge balance dictates chemical formula achieve closest packing A few of the different types of ceramic materials outside of the glass family are described below. the resulting solid is a disorderly arrangement which is glass. as well as glass. Four large oxygen (0) atoms surround each smaller silicon (Si) atom. mica). If silica in the molten state is cooled very slowly it crystallizes at the freezing point. Clay is the basic raw material for many building products such as brick and tile. the regular arrangement of atoms into densely packed planes led to the occurrence of slip under stress. which gives metal their characteristic ductility.

In this case. 5 to 9% Al2O3. in some crystal lattices. making them suitable for applications as cutting tools. Cements are prepared by grinding the clays and limestone in proper proportion. 60 to 64% CaO and 2 to 4% FeO. and a new phase grows throughout the mass. the minerals either decompose or combine with water. There are a number of different grades of cement but a typical Portland cement will contain 19 to 25% SiO2 . The structure is unchanged if the Ti and N atoms (lattices) are interchanged. The heat of hydration (heat of reaction in the adsorption of water) in setting of the cement can be large and can cause damage in large structures. Cations and anions both lie at the nodes of separate fcc lattices. TiN has a cubic structure which is perhaps the simplest and best known of structure types.Cement Cement (Portland cement) is one of the main ingredients of concrete. Ferroelectric materials. wearresistant parts and structural components at high temperatures. it is called ferroelectric. Nitride Ceramics Nitrides combine the superior hardness of ceramics with high thermal and mechanical stability. firing in a kiln. it is said that there exists spontaneous polarization in the crystal. especially polycrystalline ceramics. When the polarization of the dielectric can be altered by an electric field. . BaTiO3. are very promising for varieties of application fields such as piezoelectric/electrostrictive transducers. The reaction is solution. When water is added. and electrooptic. recrystallization. and regrinding. the centers of the positive and negative charges do not coincide even without the application of external electric field. Ferroelectric Ceramics Depending on the crystal structure. and precipitation of a silicate structure. A typical ceramic ferroelectric is barium titanate. It is usually important to control the amount of water to prevent an excess that would not be part of the structure and would weaken it.

in ceramics defect formation is strongly affected by the condition of charge neutrality because the creation of areas of unbalanced charges requires an expenditure of a large amount of energy. the resulting solid is said to be nonstoichiometric. In ionic crystals. Sometimes. charge neutrality often results in defects that come as pairs of ions with opposite charge or several nearby point defects in which the sum of all charges is zero. Defects will appear if the charge of the impurities is not balanced . A Schottky-defect is a pair of nearby cation and anion vacancies. This is the case of electronegative impurities that substitute a lattice anion or electropositive substitutional impurities. This is more likely for similar ionic radii since this minimizes the energy required for lattice distortion. Schottky defect occurs when a host atom leaves its position and moves to the surface creating a vacancy-vacancy pair. Solids such as SiO2. Anion vacancies are the source of the nonstoichiometry in SiO2-x. which have a welldefined chemical formula. Imperfections in Ceramics Imperfections in ceramic crystals include point defects and impurities like in metals.Phase Diagram The phase diagram is important in understanding the formation and control of the microstructure of the microstructure of polyphase ceramics. are called stoichiometric compounds. However. Also. Introduction of impurity atoms in the lattice is likely in conditions where the charge is maintained. Charge neutral defects include the Frenkel and Schottky defects. nonequilibrium structures are even more prevalent in ceramics because the more complex crystal structures are more difficult to nucleate and to grow from the melt. Nonstoichiometry and the existence of point defects in a solid are often closely related. When the composition of a solid deviates from the standard chemical formula. just as it is with polyphase metallic materials. A Frenkel-defect occurs when a host atom moves into a nearby interstitial position to create a vacancyinterstitial pair of cations. the composition may alter slightly to arrive at a more balanced atomic charge.

Mers A polymer is composed of Mer – The repeating unit in a polymer chain many simple molecules Monomer – that are repeating A single mer unit (n=1) structural units called Polymer – monomers. F. Bf. The key to the polymer structure is that two carbon atoms can have up to three common bonds and still bond with other atoms. Copolymers are polymers composed of two or more different types of monomers. Covalent bonds hold the atoms in the polymer molecules together and secondary bonds then hold groups of polymer chains together to form the polymeric material. and I with 1 valence electron. The elements found most frequently in polymers and their valence numbers are: H. The ability for molecules to form long chains is a vital to producing polymers. Cl. n with 3 valence electrons and C and Si with 4 valence electrons. . Each of these valence electrons can form a covalent bond to another carbon atom or to a foreign atom. branched. A single Many mer-units along a chain (n=103 or polymer molecule may more) Degree of Polymerization – consist of hundreds to a The average number of mer-units in a million monomers and chain.Polymer Structure Engineering polymers include natural materials such as rubber and synthetic materials such as plastics and elastomers. may have a linear. or network structure. Polymer Chains (Thermoplastics and Thermosets) A polymer is an organic material and the backbone of every organic material is a chain of carbon atoms. Polymers are very useful materials because their structures can be altered and tailored to produce materials 1) with a range of mechanical properties 2) in a wide spectrum of colors and 3) with different transparent properties. O and S with 2 valence electrons. The carbon atom has four electrons in the outer shell.

these chains stretch and the elongation of polymers can be thousands of times greater than it is in crystalline structures. Each bond is at 109° to the next and. the solid material polyethylene. instead of many molecules is formed during polymerization. This is called a linear polymer and is building block for thermoplastic polymers. but it should be noted that they have a three dimensional structure. When stress is applied. flexibility and toughness. there are still two free valence electrons at each end of the chain for joining other mers or polymer chains. The length of the polymer chain is very important. therefore. the carbon backbone extends through space like a twisted chain of TinkerToys.Consider the material polyethylene. with its characteristics of strength. When thermoplastics are heated. the total binding forces between molecules also increases. There is another group of polymers in which a single large network. which is made from ethane gas. After the two mers are joined. The polymer chain is often shown in two dimensions. there is more molecular movement and the bonds between molecules can be easily broken. such as polyethylene. this group is called thermosetting . It should also be noted that the molecules are not generally straight but are a tangled mass. The binding forces are the result of van der Waals forces between molecules and mechanical entanglement between the chains. that fills the available bond at each end of the molecule. C2H6. can be pictured as a mass of intertwined worms randomly thrown into a pail. Since polymerization is initially accomplished by heating the raw materials and brining them together. When the number of carbon atoms in the chain is over 1. one of the carbon bonds in each molecule can be broken and the two molecules can be joined with a carbon to carbon bond. This is why thermoplastic materials can be remelted. Thermoplastic materials. As the number of carbon atoms in the chain is increased to beyond several hundred. The change in state occurs because as the length of the molecules increases. The process can continue liking more mers and polymers together until it is stopped by the addition of anther chemical (a terminator). is obtained.000. Ethane gas has a two carbon atoms in the chain and each of the two carbon atoms share two valence electrons with the other. If two molecules of ethane are brought together. the material will pass through the liquid state and become a waxy solid.

For this type of network structure to form. These chains form jointed structures and rings.polymers or plastics. Since these materials are essentially comprised of one giant molecule. only a linear structure is possible. • Types of polymers o Commodity plastics  PE = Polyethylene  PS = Polystyrene  PP = Polypropylene  PVC = Poly(vinyl chloride)  PET = Poly(ethylene terephthalate) o Specialty or Engineering Plastics  Teflon (PTFE) = Poly(tetrafluoroethylene)  PC = Polycarbonate (Lexan)  Polyesters and Polyamides (Nylon) . the mers must have more than two places for boning to occur. otherwise. Thermosetting polymers are more rigid and generally have higher strength than thermoplastic polymers. there is no movement between molecules once the mass has set. and may fold back and forth to take on a partially crystalline structure. Also. they will not become plastic when heated. since there is no opportunity for motion between molecules in a thermosetting polymer.

reinforced concrete (steel rebar in concrete). phase called the reinforcement. noncontinuous. which is continuous. each of which retains it own distinctive Components of Composite Materials • Matrix phase: bulk materials such properties. The fibers provide the high stiffness. began to emerge. Most commonly. In about the mid 1960’s. kevlar. An example is adding straw to mud for building stronger mud walls. a new group of composite materials.Composite Structures A composite material is basically a combination of two or more materials. These materials were first developed for use in the aerospace industry because for certain . and transfers it to the reinforcement material. composite materials have a bulk phase. or fiberglass with an epoxy resin. The fundamental design concept of composites is that the bulk phase accepts the load over a large surface area. The resulting material has characteristics that are not characteristic of the components in isolation. called advanced engineered composite materials (aka advanced composites). Advanced composites utilize a combination of resins and fibers. which can be combined in countless ways to produce just the desired properties. while the surrounding polymer resin matrix holds the structure together. Multiphase as: metals are composite Metals Ceramics Polymers materials on a micro • Reinforcement: fibers and scale. The significance here lies in that there are numerous matrix materials and as many fiber types. The concept of composite materials is ancient. but generally the particulates such as: term composite is applied Glass Carbon Kevlar to materials that are Silicon Boron Ceramic created by mechanically Carbide bonding two or more Ceramic Metallic Aggregate different materials • Interface: area of mechanical together. called the matrix. and a dispersed. customarily carbon/graphite. Some other examples of basic composites include concrete (cement mixed with sand and aggregate). and fiberglass (glass strands in a resin matrix). which can carry a greater load.

Composites are resistant to fatigue damage and harsh environments. The direction of movement between atoms is random unless a force causes the electrons to move in one direction. Composites meeting the criteria of having mechanical bonding can also be produced on a micro scale. A metal matrix composite is a type of metal that is reinforced with another material to improve strength. iron with a conductivity value of 1. The electrons carry a negative electrostatic charge and under certain conditions can move from atom to atom. but conductivity values are often reported as percent IACS. IACS is an acronym for International Annealed Copper Standard or the material that was used to make traditional copper-wire .044 x 107 S/m. wear or some other characteristics. Generally. An interesting side note is that . For example. and then pressed and sintered together. This material is used to produce carbide drill bits and is called a metal-matrix composite.application they have a higher stiffness to weight or strength-toweight ratio than metals. It is the ratio of the current density to the electric field strength. This directional movement of electrons due to an electromotive force is what is known as electricity. The resulting material has a soft cobalt matrix with tough tungsten carbide particles inside. This means metal parts can be replaced with lighter weight parts manufactured from advanced composites. carbon-epoxy composites are two thirds the weight of aluminum. and two and a half times as stiff. and are repairable. Therefore. the tungsten carbide retains its identity. when tungsten carbide powder is mixed with cobalt powder. Electrical Conductivity and Resistivity It is well known that one of the subatomic particles of an atom is the electron.8108 x 107S/m) is defined to be 100% IACS at 20°C. Its SI derived unit is the Siemens per meter. The conductivity of the annealed copper (5. has a conductivity of approximately 18% of that of annealed copper and this is reported as 18% IACS. All other conductivity values are related back to this conductivity of annealed copper. Electrical Conductivity Electrical conductivity is a measure of how well a material accommodates the movement of an electric charge.

41 to convert to the % IACS value.commercially pure copper products now often have IACS conductivity values greater than 100% because processing techniques have improved since the adoption of the standard in 1913 and more impurities can now be removed from the metal. For example. electrical conductivity values (and resistivity values) are typically reported at 20 oC. Electrical Resistivity Electrical resistivity is the reciprocal of conductivity. resulting in a change of electrical energy into heat. electrical conductivity information can be used for measuring the purity of water. the resistivity of most material increases with increasing temperature. and inspecting for heat damage in some materials. the conductivity value is multiplied by 172. a material with two micro ohm centimeter of resistivity will have ½ microSiemens/centimeter of conductivity. Alternately. This is done because the conductivity and resistivity of material is temperature dependant. It is the is the opposition of a body or substance to the flow of electrical current through it. As mentioned above resistivity values are simply the reciprocal of conductivity so conversion between the two is straightforward. Electrical conductivity is a very useful property since values are affected by such things as a substances chemical composition and the stress state of crystalline structures. or other forms of energy. sorting materials. The amount of resistance depends on the type of material. The conductivity of most materials decreases as temperature increases. Conductivity values in Siemens/meter can be converted to % IACS by multiplying the conductivity value by 1. When conductivity values are reported in microSiemens/centimeter. Resistivity values in microhm centimeters units can be converted to % IACS conductivity values with the following formula: 172.41 / resistivity = % IACS Temperature Coefficient of Resistivity As noted above. The SI unit for electrical resistivity is the ohm meter. Materials with low resistivity are good conductors of electricity and materials with high resistivity are good insulators. The amount of change is material . light. checking for proper heat treatment of metals.7241 x10-6. Resistivity values are more commonly reported in micro ohm centimeters units. Therefore.

However. the resistivity value corrected for temperature can be calculated. an adjusted resistivity value can be computed using the following formula: R1 = R2 * [1 + a * (T1–T2)] Where: R1 = resistivity value adjusted to T1 R2 = resistivity value known or measured at temperature T2 a = Temperature Coefficient T1 = Temperature at which resistivity value needs to be known T2 = Temperature at which known or measured value was obtained For example. even the lattice atoms participate in the interference of directional electron movement as they are not always found at their ideal lattice sites. Thermal energy causes the atoms to vibrate about their equilibrium positions. interstitial defects and impurity atoms. Normally when measuring resistivity or conductivity. and then no correction for temperature will be required. R1 = R2 * [1 + a * (T1–T2)] . suppose that resistivity measurements were being made on a hot piece of aluminum. if the calibration standard and the test material are at different temperatures. When the temperature coefficient is known. At any moment in time many individual lattice atoms will be away from their perfect lattice sites and this interferes with electron movement. The reason that resistivity increases with increasing temperature is that the number of imperfection in the atomic lattice structure increases with temperature and this hampers electron movement. a correction to the measured value must be made.dependant but has been established for many elements and engineering materials. vacancies. These imperfections include dislocations. the instrument is calibrated using standards that are at the same temperature as the material being measured. Additionally. above absolute zero. Using the above equation and the following temperature coefficient value. Presume that the instrument was calibrated at 20oC (68oF) but the measurement was made at 25oC (77oF) and the resistivity value obtained was 2.706 x 10-8 ohm meters.

0043 per degree centigrade and a conductivity of 63. Material Nickel Iron Temperature Coefficient (/ oC) 0.648 x 10-8ohm meters Note that the resistivity value was adjusted downward since this example involved calculating the resistivity for a lower temperature.6% IACS at 25 oC.0043/ oC T1 = 20 oC T2 = 25 oC R1 = 2.Where: R1 = ? R2 = 2. The equation becomes: s1 = s2 / [1 + a * (T1–T2)] Where: s1 = conductivity value adjusted to T1 s2 = conductivity value known or measured at temperature T2 a = Temperature Coefficient T1 = Temperature at which conductivity value needs to be known T2 = Temperature at which known or measured value was obtained In this example let’s consider the same aluminum alloy with a temperature coefficient of 0. Since conductivity is simply the inverse of resistivity. the temperature coefficient is the same for conductivity and the equation requires only slight modification.0043 * (20 oC – 25 oC)] s1= 65.706 x 10-8ohm meters * [1 + 0.6% IACS / [1 + 0.0% IASC The temperature coefficient for a few metallic elements is shown below. What will the conductivity be when adjusted to 20 oC? s1= 63.0059 0.0060 .0043/ oC * (20 oC – 25 oC)] R1 = 2.706 x 10-8 ohm meters (measured resistivity at 25 oC) a = 0.

0038 0.257 x 10-6 H/m) and µ represents the permeability of the substance in question (also specified in henrys per meter). Materials that cause the lines of flux to move farther apart.Molybden um Tungsten Aluminum Copper Silver Platinum Gold Zinc 0.0044 0.0043 0. which is symbolized µ0. then the relative permeability. In engineering applications. rather than in absolute. In other materials it can be much different. resulting in a decrease in magnetic flux density compared with a vacuum. The permeability factors of some substances change with rising or falling temperature. It is a constant of proportionality that exists between magnetic induction and magnetic field intensity.0038 0. is given by: µr = µ / µ0 .0040 0. This constant is equal to approximately 1. Materials that concentrate magnetic flux by a factor of more than one but less than or equal to ten are called paramagnetic. 4p X10-7H/m or 1.0038 Magnetic Permeability Magnetic permeability or simply permeability is the ease with which a material can be magnetized. materials that concentrate the flux by a factor of more than ten are called ferromagnetic.0046 0. terms. often substantially greater than the free-space value. or with the intensity of the applied magnetic field. If µ o represents the permeability of free space (that is.257 x 10-6 Henry per meter (H/m) in free space (a vacuum). are called diamagnetic. µr.0037 0. permeability is often expressed in relative.

the permeability is the same as that of "free space". In addition. brass. Diamagnetic materials have µr less than one. but no known substance has relative permeability much less than one. have µr that can range up to about 1. i.For non-ferrous metals such as copper. aluminum etc.000. This effect is useful in the design of transformers and eddy current probes. heating effects. the relative permeability is one. When a paramagnetic or ferromagnetic core is inserted into a coil.000. Certain ferromagnetic materials. . permeability can vary greatly within a metal part due to localized stresses.. the inductance is multiplied by µr compared with the inductance of the same coil with an air core.e. etc. especially powdered or laminated iron. steel. For ferrous metals however the value of µ r may be several hundred. or nickel alloys.