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Materials are selected and used as a result of a match between their properties and the needs dictated by the intended application. This article provides information on how composition and structure determine the properties of materials. It presents common structural elements that are most important in materials. The article provides the historical perspective of materials and illustrates the evolution of engineering materials.

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Richard W. Heckel, Introduction to the Effects of Composition, Processing, and Structure on Materials Properties, Materials Selection and Design, Vol 20, ASM Handbook, Edited By George E. Dieter, ASM International, 1997, p 331–335,

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