Families of materials
Polymers, or plastics (both words can be used as synonyms) are one of the 5 main families of materials:
- Ceramics and glasses
- Composites (usually a combination of a polymer and an additive from another family)
Materials from the same family have a similar behavior. For example, metals and ceramics are much more resistant thermally and mechanically than polymers, but also a lot harder to process. In most cases, polymers are rather inexpensive and easy-to-process, lightweight materials used for a variety of commodity applications and some high performance applications.