Who Cares About Properties

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Cars, buildings, and electronics: all things we take for granted, but things we wouldn’t have without something scientists like to call “properties”. “So what, who cares” some people might say about physical properties. Let me assure you that physical properties are very important in the world around us. The physical properties of matter such as, steel, Kevlar, and copper are required to the world around us because they are essential to the safety, strength, and usefulness of things today.

Did you know that a car today is made up of 60% steel? Steel, an alloy of iron (Fe) and carbon (C) is used in everything from steel pipes for plumbing to nano technology for medicine. Doctors use miniscule robots to get a closer look inside a patient’s body. Before these new and advanced methods, doctors had to perform surgery or administer excruciating procedures to examine and diagnose the patient. Steel is one of the only metals usable because it is mainly composed of iron, which is ok to be in the body, and steel is malleable and ductile. Today cars are using newer reinforced, and higher strength steel. This “new” steel has the same components, but is just chemically altered and played with to make it flame resistant and lighter. The “making things stronger” video demonstrated that a steel cable can in fact stop a fighter jet because of its tensile strength. In the “Making things Stronger” video the main architect, Daniel Libeskind, designed the new building to contain 45,000 tons of highly reinforced steel in order to withstand another plane crash like the incident on 9/11. Without steel most buildings wouldn’t stand, cars wouldn’t be fuel efficient, and doctors wouldn’t be able to use Nano technology in modern medicine.

Steel is a metal, but there is new material in town that would very well replace steel altogether. Kevlar, a polymer created in a lab by Stephanie Kwolek at DuPont labratories, originated from a similar polymer called nylon Kevlar, the trademarked...
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