• Question: If you want to try out a different type of material, do you first test it?

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      Asked by Lemon to Martin W, Martin, Elizabeth on 20 Mar 2015.
      • Photo: Martin Wieczysty

        Martin Wieczysty answered on 20 Mar 2015:

        Trying out and testing are basically the same thing. Usually when making a new material we have a thing of what properties it should have (should it be hard/soft bendy/brittle), and we can use useful chemical knowledge to “program” the reaction like a computer program, so we get a material with the qualities that we want. Sometimes this does not work as well as we would hope.
        Testing usually would involve:
        Density: Density is how much something weighs for a measured voulme. A tonne of bricks and a tonne of feathers have the same MASS, but feathers have a LOWER density than bricks.
        Strength: How much bending/stretching can it take before it snaps, or bends so much it will never go back to normal.
        Hardness: Will it scratch if you rubbed it with a sharp nail etc
        We would as test for inner strength – would it break into millions of pieces if you were to drop it.

        The British Standards Group http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Standards, is a company which tests a new product to find out if it is safe. For example a motorcycle helmet would be fired into a brick wall, to simulate a crash.