Sorting Material into Groups

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Introduction to Sorting Materials into Groups

When we look around us, we find ourselves surrounded by a number of objects having different shapes, colours, textures, properties, and uses. Some of these objects are made from a number of different materials, while some are made using the same material. For eg, Both desks and chairs are made from wood while bottles and dustbins are made from plastic. A plastic bottle is used to store water whereas a dustbin is used to collect waste materials. The same material can be used to make different types of objects. For example, glass can be used to make bulbs, screens, bowls, window panes, etc. The same object can be made of different kinds of materials. For example, a table is made of plastic, wood, or iron. So, in order to classify the material as per their usage, Sorting Material into groups is necessary.

Properties of Materials

1. Appearance

Materials can be classified on the basis of their look or appearance, Some materials have a soft glow to them while others are plain and dull looking. Materials that have a soft glow can be classified as Metals like Copper, gold, aluminum, iron, etc. 

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2. Soluble or Insoluble

The materials that can be dissolved in water is said to be soluble materials. For example, Salt and Sugar can be dissolved in water.

Materials that can’t be dissolved in water even after stirring them are said to be insoluble materials. For example, Stones and sand cannot be dissolved in water.

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3. Transparency

  • Objects or materials which we can see through are said to be transparent objects. Eg: Glass, clear water, and some plastics.

  • Objects or materials through which things can be seen only partially are called Translucent objects. Eg: Butter paper, thin plastic sheets, frosted glass, etc.

  • Objects from which cannot be see-through are termed opaque objects. Eg: Metals, wood, brick, book, wall, clothes, etc.

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4. On the Basis of the State of Matter




They have definite shape and volume.

They don’t have a definite shape but a definite volume. They take the shape of a container.

They don’t have a definite shape and volume.

Particles are closely packed.

Particles are not as closely packed as solids.

Particles are loosely packed.

They can't be compressed.

They can be compressed to a small extent.

They are highly compressible.

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Why Do We Need to Sort Materials Into Groups?

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The Main Purpose of Sorting Materials Into Groups is Listed Below:

  • Storage: In order to allocate suitable containers for the storage of objects, it is necessary to sort objects into solids, liquids, and gases. Eg: Liquids such as oil and milk can be stored in containers such as a glass tumbler, but gases such as nitrogen and oxygen cannot be stored in them while vegetables can be stored in cloth bags.

  • Convenience to Store: We try to group objects in such a way that similar objects are kept together in order to make locating them easier. Even in our homes also, we store spices together in the kitchen, and washing products are stored in bathrooms.

  • Manufacturing: Sorting of material can be helpful in the manufacturing process, If we want to manufacture bottles to store liquids, we use materials such as glass, plastic, or metal and not cloth or leaves because they will not retain the liquid. Similarly, while manufacturing a table, we can use wood or plastic, and not glass.

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  • Convenience to Study: We group objects so that it becomes easy for us to study their features. Sorting is also done on the basis of their physical and chemical properties. To get more insight into the topic, we suggest referring to NCERT solutions.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is sorting in science?

The process of sorting is grouping objects according to their similarities whereas the process of classifying involves grouping objects into predetermined groups. Grouping helps in systematic knowledge of things.

2. What is the similarity between salt and sand?

Both the salt and sand have mass and are in the solid-state.

3. Name three liquids that are transparent.

Three liquids that are transparent are Water, alcohol, and Benzene.