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Materials

Oil is pumped out of the Earth. It is called "crude oil". Crude oil is a fossil fuel, which means that it was made naturally from decaying plants and animals living in ancient seas millions of years ago.
We make heating oil, jet fuel, diesel fuel, kerosene, propane, gasoline, lubricating oils, tires, asphalt, tar, paint thinner, chemicals, plastics, paraffin wax, petroleum jelly, nylon and more from crude oil.

Coal comes out of the ground. It is used for making heat by burning it in stoves, furnaces and large boilers in power plants.

Bricks are made from clay. Wood and paper are made from trees. Glass is made from sand. Stones such as limestone, slate, marble, granite, sandstone and many others come directly out of the ground. Cement is made from ground up rock.

Most rubber is made from synthetic materials. It also comes from rubber trees, which grow in tropical areas such as Africa, Brazil and Malaysia.

Metals come from the Earth in the form of ores, like iron, copper, silver and gold.
Steel is a mix of mostly iron and other metals. Some things made from steel are bridges, I-beams, car frames and parts, machinery, cables, refrigerators, desks, lamps, file cabinets, toolboxes, tools and shelving.
Some things made from copper are water pipes and electrical wire.
Some things made from silver are jewelry and ornaments.
Some things made from gold are jewelry and dental fillings.
Stainless steel contains nickel and chromium, which makes it very resistant to rusting. Some things made from stainless are pots and pans, cooking utensils and sinks.
An alloy is a substance usually composed of two or more metals.
Bronze is an alloy of mostly copper and tin. It doesn’t rust. Some things made from bronze are boat propellers, water pumps and statues.
Brass is an alloy made of mostly copper and zinc. Some things made from brass are pipe fittings and household ornaments.
Aluminum is a lightweight metal alloy. It doesn’t rust. Some things made from aluminum are airplanes, car parts, electrical wires and aluminum foil.

South Africa and the United States are the two largest producers of gold.

Clothes are made from many different materials called textiles. Some natural materials are cotton (from cotton plants), wool (from sheep), linen (from flax), hemp (from the hemp plant), mohair (from Angora goats) and silk (from silkworms).
Some synthetic materials are Orlon, Dacron, rayon, nylon, polyester, acrylic, Gore-tex, spandex and Lycra.
Fleece is a fabric with a soft pile which can be made from natural or synthetic materials.
Velvet is usually made from silk, but can also be make with synthetic materials.
Velour is a synthetic material closely resembling velvet.
Felt is a non-woven fabric of wool, fur or hair, matted together by heat, moisture and pressure. Hats are commonly made from felt.

Shoes can be made from leather (from cows), rubber, plastic and other materials.

There are about 4,000 known minerals, although only about 200 are of major importance. About 50-100 new minerals are described each year. The hardest mineral is a diamond.


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