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Properties of building materials

1.Look at these diagrams and choose suitable name for each construction.

a) planar construction

b) frame construction

c) mass construction

2.Read and translate the text:

Building materials are used in two basic ways. In the first way they are used to support the loads on a building and in the second way they are used to divide the space in a building. Building components are made from building materials and the form of a component is related to the way in which it is used. We can see how this works by considering three different types of construction:

In one kind of construction, blocks of materials such as brick, stone, or concrete are put together to form solid walls. These materials are heavy, however, they can support the structural loads because they have the property of high compressive strength. Walls made up of blocks both support the building and divide the space in the building.

In another type of construction, sheet materials are used to form walls which act as both space – dividers and structural support. Timber, concrete and some plastics can be made into large rigid sheets and fixed together to form a building. These buildings are lighter and faster to construct than buildings made up of blocks.

Rod materials, on the other hand, can be used for structural support but not for dividing spaces. Timber, steel and concrete can be formed into rods and used as columns. Rod materials with high tensile and compressive strength can be fixed together to form framed structures. The spaces between the rods can be filled with light sheet materials which act as space dividers but do not support structural loads.

3. Copy and complete this table by putting ticks in the boxes to show the functions of the components:

  Function of components
Form of material Structural support only Space dividing only Both structural support and space dividing


4. Match the words from the text with the definitions below.

a)Concrete     b)Rod   c)Timber   d)Brick   e)Stone 1) a block of clay, usually rectangular, hardened by drying in the sun or by burning in a kiln, and used for building, paving, etc. 2) an artificial stone like material used for foundations, made by cement, sand , and broken stones, water. 3) a hard concretion of earth or mineral matter as lime, silica or clay. 4) a stick, staff, bar, or the like, of various materials, as wood or metal. 5) wood suitable for building or for use in carpentry.


5.Decide if these statements are true or false:

1. Rod materials can be used for both dividing space and supporting the building.

2. Concrete can be used as a block material, a sheet material and a rod material.

3. Steel is used for frame construction because it has high tensile strength and low compressive strength.

4. The sheet materials, which act as space dividers in a frame construction building, can be very light because they don’t support structural loads.

5. Mass construction buildings are light whereas planar construction buildings are heavy.

6. Make up the plan of the text and retell it according to the plan (not less then 100 words).

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