Exam Questions - Materials

The exam follows a standard structure with distinct sections. There are hyperlinks to the sections of the site you will need. (You may have to use the browser BACK button to return).

Remember you must use common sense, rely on your wider knowledge and your practical knowledge of working with materials. Educated "guesses" are what many of the questions are asking for. Read the question carefully, make sure you answer the question that is being asked. A-Level questions often include an introduction or preamble which sets the scene for the real question.

The answer may be elsewhere on the paper you should read the whole paper all the way through before starting.

Answer all questions - an educated guess is a good chance of the marks, a blank is worth nothing!

Material Types or Classes with examples. You will be asked to suggest a material for a purpose and explain why. e.g. An electrical cable is made from an outer sheath which is electrically insulating and an inner core that needs to be an electrical conductor. Identify a suitable material for each. Give two reasons for each.

You must not include the reason given in the questions.

Tactile means by touch. Visual means by eye. You should know the proerties of materials that your senses tell you.

Materials testing

You will need to know - the names of the tests, the property being tested and the units of the property. You will be asked to sketch the apparatus. ( Keep it simple - Only draw the key parts). Stress /strain graphs - what do the parts of the graph tell you about the material's properties. Advantages and limitations of tests. Hardness tests - types and units. How do you test for hardness on non metals such as plastics or ceramics.

Materials properties

You may be presented with a table of data and asked to choose materials for a purpose and justify the choice. You will need to understand the units used to measure the properties. You will need to have a working knowledge of some values for tensile strength. Aluminium versus copper for a conductor. Strength to weight ratio. Engineering plastics are Nylon 66 and ABS.

Processing materials - see the GCSE Engineering Sections

Questions will be about processes such as how would a component be made. 3D shaping of metals with minimum waste is a common question. - sand casting, die casting. Fixings and fastenings are included as part of manufacturing.

Modifying material properties

Questions will be about alloys, molecular and/or crystalline structure often related to heat treatment of ferrous metals such as high carbon steels or cast iron. Grain flow