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Modern Materials

Since the beginning of the modern era of chemistry in the nineteenth century, one of the important goals of chemical research has been the discovery and development of materials with useful properties. Future advances in technology will depend more than ever on the discovery and development of materials with new, valuable properties. Chemists have contributed to materials science by inventing entirely new substances and developing the means for processing naturally occurring materials to form fibers, films, coatings, adhesives, and substances with special electrical, magnetic, or optical properties. In this chapter we will discuss the properties and applications of several kinds of materials that play important roles in modern society. Our aim is to show how we can understand many special physical or chemical properties by applying the principles we have discussed in earlier chapters.

This chapter demonstrates the important point that the observable, macroscopic properties of materials are the result of atomic- and molecular-level structures and processes.

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