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Everyday materials and their properties

Explainer Video

Tutor: Aimee LeBrun


Everyday materials and their properties

​​In a nutshell

Different types of materials are used for different jobs depending on their properties. Three key material properties are: hardness, solubility and transparency. 

Material properties 

Material properties will help decide what job a material should be used for. Materials can be hard, soluble and transparent.




Hardness is how easy a material is to break or change shape. A hard material is difficult to break, bend or scratch. They are used when a tough material is needed. A soft material is a flexible material that is easy to bend or break.
  • Rocks, aluminium and bricks are hard materials.
  • Silk, cotton and rubber are soft materials. 
Solubility is how well a material dissolves in water. A soluble material dissolves easily in water. They are used in food and medical products. An insoluble material does not dissolve easily in water. they are used alongside water. 
  • Sugar, salt and coffee are all soluble. 
  • Sand, plastic and stones are insoluble.
Transparency is how easily you can see through a material. A transparent material is easy to see through but an opaque material can not be seen through. 
  • Cling film, sellotape and glass are all transparent. 
  • Paper, wood and stone are opaque.


A chemist needs to use a material that dissolves well in water. What property does this material have? 

This must be a soluble material! So, the chemist could use sugar, salt or any other soluble material.

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

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