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Arrangement of atoms in metals

© An alloy is a mixture of two or more elements with a certain fixed

composition in which the major component is a metal.

© Pure metals are weak and soft. This is because:

A pure metal contains atoms of the same size arranged in a regular

and orderly arrangement.

Figure 1: Arrangement of atoms in a pure metal

The orderly arrangement of atoms enables the layers of atoms to

slide over each other easily when an external force is applied on
them. This makes the metals ductile (metals can be drawn to form
long wires).

Figure 2: Ductility of pure metals

There exist empty spaces in the structures of pure metals. When

hammered or pressed, groups of metal atoms may glide into new
positions in these empty spaces. This makes the metals malleable
(metals can be made into different shapes or pressed into thin

Figure 3: Malleability of pure metals

The arrangement of atom in alloys

© In the process of alloying, foreign elements are added to molten metal.

When hardened, these atoms of foreign elements replace the positions of
some of the original metal atoms.

© In an alloy, the atoms of foreign elements disrupt the orderly

arrangement of the metal atoms and also fill up any empty spaces in the
metal crystal structure.

Figure 4: The formation of alloy

© Hence, the layers of metal atoms are prevented from sliding over each
other easily.

© This makes the alloy harder and stronger, less ductile and less malleable
than pure metals.

© There are three aims of alloying a pure metal:

To increase the hardness and strength of a metal

To prevent corrosion or rusting

To improve the appearance of the metal surfaces, with a better

finish and luster
The composition, properties and uses of some common alloys

Alloy Composition Properties Uses

Ø Frameworks of buildings and

Carbon Iron added Hard and
Ø Tools.
Steel with carbon strong
Ø Heavy machinery.
Ø Bodies of vehicles.
Iron added Ø To make cutlery and
Shiny, strong
Stainless with kitchenware.
and resists
Steel chromium Ø Machines parts.
and nickel Ø Surgical instruments.
Ø To make kitchenware.
Copper Ø Ships
Hard, strong
Bronze added with Ø Decorative ornaments.
and shiny
tin Ø Statues.
Ø Art crafts.
Ø To make electrical
Copper connections musical
Brass added with Hard and shiny instruments.
zinc Ø Kitchenware.
Ø Decorative ornaments.
Aluminium Ø To make aircraft body
Light, hard and
Magnalium added with frames.
magnesium Ø Racing cars tyre
Aluminium Ø To make bodies of aircrafts.
added with Light, hard and Ø Racing bicycles.
copper and strong Ø Fan blades.
magnesium Ø Light electrical cables.
Tin added Ø To make candlesticks.
Lustre, shiny
Pewter with copper Ø Decorative ornaments.
and strong
and antimoni Ø Souvenirs.

The meaning of polymers

© Polymers are large molecules made up of many smaller and identical

repeating units joined together by covalent bonds. These small molecules
are called monomers.

© Polymerisation is the chemical process by which the monomers are joined

together to form a big molecule known as polymer.

Figure 5: Formation of a polymer

© A polymer is a macromolecule (a very big molecule). Hence, the relative

molecular mass of a polymer is large.

© The properties of a polymer are different from its monomers.

© Polymers can be divided into two types:

Naturally occuring polymers; examples are protein, carbohydrates

and natural rubber.

Synthetic polymers; examples are plastics and synthetic rubber.

© Many of the raw materials for the synthetic polymers are obtained from

© There are two types of polymerisation process:

Addition polymerisation
Condensation polymerisation
© Plastics such as polythene and PVC are produced by addition
polymerisation, whereas synthetic fibres such as nylon and Terylene are
made by condensation polymerisation. Both nylon and Terylene are
synthetic fibre used for making clothing.

© Some examples of synthetic addition polymers, their monomers and uses

are shown in table below.

Monomer Uses

Plastic bags, shopping bags,

plastic containers, plastic
Polythene (PE) Ethane
toys, plastic cups and

Plastic bottles, bottle

crates, plastic tables and
Polypropene (PP) Propene
chairs, car battery cases and

Water pipes, records, shoes,

Chloroethane bags, raincoats, artificial
leather, and wire casing.

Packaging material, toys,

Polystyrene Phenylethane plates, heat insulators and
disposable cups.

Safety glass, reflectors, lens

Perspex Methylmethacrylate
and traffic signs.

* Hezane-1,6-diol
Terylene * Benzene-1,4- Clothing, sails and ropes.
dicarboxylic acid
* Hezane-1,6-
Nylon Ropes, clothing and carpets.
* Hezane-1,6-dioic
Issues of the use of synthetic polymers in everyday life

© Synthetic polymers have been used widely to replace natural materials

because of the following advantages:

Strong and light

ADVANTAGES Able to resist corrosion
Inert to chemical attacks
Easily moulded or shaped and dyed

© The use of synthetic polymer, however, results in environmental pollution

problems from the disposal of synthetic polymers because:

Most polymers are non-biodegradable (cannot be decomposed by

bacteria or other microorganisms).

Plastic items block drains and rivers, causing flash floods.

Plastic containers become breeding places for mosquitoes.

Small plastics swallowed by aquatic animals cause death.

Burning of polymers release harmful gases that cause air pollution.

© Petroleum, the main source of raw materials for the making of synthetic
polymers is a non-renewable resource.

© Methods to overcome these problems of polymers are:

Reduce, reuse and recycle synthetic polymers.

Make biodegradable polymers.


© The main component of both glass and ceramics is silica or silicon dioxide,

© Both glass and ceramic have the same following properties:

Hard but brittle

Inert towards chemicals
Poor conductors of heat and electricity

© The use of glass and ceramics also depends on their differences as


Glass is transparent whereas ceramic is opaque.

Ceramic has higher melting point than glass.

© The uses of glass depend on the composition and properties as shown in

table below.

Type of Chemical Examples of

glass composition uses
Ø Very high melting
point, hence highly
§ Telescope
Ø Transparent to
Silicon dioxide, § Lenses
Fuses glass ultraviolet and
SiO2 § Optical fibres
infrared light
§ Laboratory
Ø Does not crack when
Ø Low melting point Silicon dioxide, § Bottles
Soda lime Ø Cracks easily with sodium oxide, § Window panes
glass sudden temperature and calcium § Light bulbs
change oxide § Mirror
Ø High melting point,
thus is heat- § Laboratory
Silicon dioxide
resistant apparatus
Borosilicate and
Ø Does not crack § Cooking
boron oxide
easily with sudden utensils
temperature change
§ Decorative
Ø High refractive index Silicon dioxide items
Lead glass Ø Reflects light rays and § Lens and prism
and appears shiny lead (II) oxide § Crystal
© Ceramics sre made from clay, sand and feldspar. Clay consists of
aluminosilicate. An example of clay is kaolinite.

© Some uses of ceramics in daily life are shown in table below.

Examples Uses
Bricks, tiles and cement § As building materials
§ Materials for vases
§ Plates
§ Bowls
§ Cooking utensils
Isulators in toasters and irons, § To make insulating parts in
spark plugs in car engines electrical apparatus
§ To make microchips in
§ Radios
§ Televisions

The uses of improved glass and ceramics

© Examples of new uses of improved glass are photochromic glass and

conducting glass.

© Examples of new uses of improved ceramics are superconductors and car

engine blocks.

© Photochromic glass

Photochromic glass is a type of glass that is sensitive to light

intensity. The glass darkens when exposed to sunlight but becomes
clear when light intensity decreases.

Photochromic glass is produced when silver chloride, AgCl or silver

bromide, AgBr is added to normal glass.

When exposed to ultraviolet light, AgCl or AgBr decomposes to

form silver and halogen atoms. The fine silver deposited in glass is
black and the glass is darkened.
For example;

AgBr uv Ag + ‰Br2

When the ultraviolet ray intensity decreases, silver atoms and

bromine gas recombine to form silver bromide.
© Conducting glass

Conducting glass is atype of glass that can conduct electricity.

Conducting glass is produced by an embedding a thin layer of

conducting material in glass.

© Superconductor

Superconductors are a class of ceramic that conduct electricity

without resistance and without the loss of electrical energy.

Superconductor ceramics are used to make light magnets,

electrical generators and electric motors.

© Ceramic car engine block

Ceramic used for making car engine blocks can withstand very high

At a higher temperature, the combustion of fuel becomes more

efficient, producing more energy and less pollution.

What are composite materials ?

© A composite materials is a structural material formed by combining two

or more material with different physical properties, producing a complex

© A composite material has more superior properties than the original

components used to make up the composite material.

© Composite materials are harder, stronger and lighter, more resistant to

heat and corrosion compared to their original components. Composite
materials are also made for specific purposes.

© Table on the next page compares the superior properties of composite

materials compared to their orginal components, as well as the uses of
these composite materials.