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A1.1 Nature of Science / International Mindedness / Theory of Knowledge

Throughout this topic, keep in mind various non-technical aspects associated with the study of materials, for example:
  • How the development of new materials has led to traditionally used materials being replaced. A simple example of this would be the changes in the use of stone, bronze and iron implements by humans throughout history.
  • Which materials were used throughout history by different civilisations? As we know even though many civilisations may have been separated geographically, the materials they used were often similar.
  • There are various ways to classify materials depending on what we might want to use them for. It is convenient to classify materials into specific types but it is not always possible for one particular material to perfectly match one particular classification.
We could classify a metal on the basis of its electrical conductivity, its specific heat capacity, its tensile strength, its chemical bonding or its ability to oxidise for example. If we then examine a non-metal, some of these properties may even be shared with a metal.