Fashion and Creative Business

FAS4-A1. Materials



The concept of “material(s)” is something that includes a large number of things.

Hence, in this activity our objective is to be able to approach this term in the most objective way by attending to different criteria that will allow us to adjust and classify materials.




As explained in the introduction to this unit, the term material is somewhat abstract, due to the large number and variety of objects that can be classified within the material category.

Text Box: Material is understood as those elements that can be transformed or grouped into a whole. These can be of a tangible, virtual or abstract nature.

The word material has different definitions depending on the context in which it is named. We can find definitions within the field of philosophy, science, chemistry, engineering… even within chess.

The differences and classifications that can be made according to different criteria, is a really immense number. We can do this by looking at the origin, the area in which it is most commonly used (some may be in different areas), consumption and wear and tear, etc.

  • According to the origin:

We can find natural materials, which we understand as those found directly in nature; for example, in this area we can find wood, cotton, coal…

Those that have been obtained from natural materials by means of chemical and physical processes are considered to be artificial materials.

In the following table you can see different properties of the materials.

Physicochemical Mechanical Technological Sensory Ecological
Specific heat Electrical conductivity Thermal conductivity Magnetism Optical properties Specific weight Thermal expansion Freezing point Boiling point Melting point Corrosion resistance Oxidation resistance Tenacity/Fragility Elasticity/plasticity Hardness Fatigue Ductility Malleability Resilience Mechanical resistance Solderability Coilability Mechanism Acrimony Colour Gloss Smell Texture Recyclability Reusability Toxicity Biodegradability
  • Depending on consumption and wear:

On the one hand, we find the fungible materials, considering that they refer to the things that, given a correct use of them, end up deteriorating, wearing out or destroying. Also considered as fungible materials are those that can be replaced by a similar or equal one without any amount.

On the other hand, on the opposite side we have the non-fungible materials, understood by those who giving them a regular and correct use do not have such wear; they are unique and therefore irreplaceable.

We should not confuse fungible and non-fungible goods, with consumable and non-consumable goods, although they show a relationship with the former. Consumables refer to the direct utility that things have when used, in the case of money, for example. And the non-consumables are those whose direct utility is given without the need to be consumed or used first, as is the case of a house, a carriage, a horse, etc. In this way, the direct relationship that these can have with fungibility and un-fungibility is shown.

  • Recyclable and reusable materials:

We understand by reusable and recyclable materials those that have the possibility of giving them more uses, although it is not the one that was thought at the beginning, or of being able to be recycled, but these uses are already being given.

For this we want to refer to the didactic unit that talks about recycling and reuse to refresh the memory.


Activity: Take 5 objects around you and classify them according to their properties and their consumption and wear (fungible and non-fungible goods).