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 Properties of building materials are used to divide the space in a building. Building components are мейд 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 Properties of building materials, 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 мейд up of blocks both support the building and divide the space in Properties of building materials 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 мейд into large rigid sheets and fixed together to form a building. These buildings are lighter Properties of building materials and faster to construct than buildings мейд up of blocks.

Rod materials, on the other хэнд, 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 Properties of building materials 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 Properties of building materials
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 Properties of building materials the sun or by burning in a kiln, and used for building, paving, etc. 2) an artificial stone like material used for foundations, мейд 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 Properties of building materials 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 Properties of building materials 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 Properties of building materials construction buildings are heavy.

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


A famous person


1. Do you know the facts concerning Wren’s genius and talent (in science, in architecture); what else can you say about him Properties of building materials?

2. Read the text and check your answers.

Christopher Wren

It was in 1666 that Christopher Wren (1632 – 1723) was appointed Surveyor- General, and principal architect for rebuilding the City of London after the Great Fire, and in 1667 he became Surveyor – General of the Royal Works at the age of thirty-five. Mr. Wren Properties of building materials had already achieved European fame as an astronomer and mathematician. For some years he had dabbed in architecture, and in 1662 had designed the Sheldonian Theatre, a building more remarkable for its constructional and acoustical properties than for its architectural attraction.

Wren had produced plans for the rebuilding Properties of building materials of the City after the Fire , and had presented them to the King. Unfortunately this plan wasn’t implemented and a great opportunity was lost.

For the next 38 years Wren was kept busy rebuilding the city churches, of which 35 are attributed to him, and with St.Paul’s Cathedrale.

Even Properties of building materials before the Fire he had prepared designs for remodeling the cathedral, largely on the lines of the existing building. This design received the royal warrant in 1675, and the last stone is believed to have been laid in 1710. Wren got over the difficulty of satisfying both interior and exterior appearances by Properties of building materials using a double dome separated by a structural brick cone which carried the lantern. The exterior wall is thus high enough to dominate the building without giving too well – like an effect inside.

St.Paul exhibits a handling of mass and detail, light and shade, which puts it Properties of building materials in the front rank of English building. It is in the Grand manner, sometimes called Baroque, largely conceived yet neither overpowering in scale nor ostentatious in details.

Of other buildings designed by Wren the best known are Hampton Court Palace, Chelsea and Greenwich Hospitals, and some ranges in the Temple.

During Properties of building materials Wren’s lifetime classical design became firmly established, and was adopted almost everywhere, not only by architects but also by working masons and carpenters, whose skill became known even on the continent.

3. Read the text again and answer the questions:

1. When was Christopher Wren appointed Surveyor Properties of building materials-General?

2. Why did he become a principal architect?

3. Was he famous only as an architect?

4. Did he manage to realize his plans for the rebuilding of the City after the Fire? Why?

5. How did Christopher Wren rebuild the cathedral?

6. What other buildings designed by Wren do you know?

4. Now read the text Properties of building materials again and decide whether these statements are true or false.

1. The Sheldonian Theatre was a building more remarkable for its architectural attraction than for its constructional and acoustical properties.

2. Wren’s plans for the rebuilding of the City after the Fire weren’t implemented.

3. Christopher Wren wasn’t Properties of building materials allowed to rebuild the cathedral.

4. St.Paul’s Cathedral is in the Grand manner, called Baroque.

5. Classical design was adopted only by architects.

5. Match the words from the text with their definitions:

Astronomer a person qualified to design buildings and to superintend their erection;

Architect a person skilled Properties of building materials in woodwork;

Carpenter a person skilled in building with stone;

Mathematician a scientist who studies astronomy;

Mason an expert or specialist in mathematics.


1. Discuss these questions with your partner:

· Do you have any idea where the word economics comes from?

· Do you know the names of any famous Properties of building materials economists from the past or anything about their ideas?

2. Read the text and check your answers.