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A raw material, also known as a feedstock, unprocessed material, or primary commodity, is a basic material that is used to produce
goods In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods ...

goods
, finished
products Product may refer to: Business * Product (business), an item that serves as a solution to a specific consumer problem. * Product (project management), a deliverable or set of deliverables that contribute to a business solution Mathematics * Produc ...
, energy, or intermediate materials that are feedstock for future finished products. As feedstock, the term connotes these materials are bottleneck assets and are required to produce other products. The term ''raw material'' denotes materials in unprocessed or minimally processed states; e.g., raw
latex LaTeX ( or , often stylized as LaTeX) is a software system for document preparation. When writing, the writer uses plain text as opposed to the formatted text found in WYSIWYG, "What You See Is What You Get" word processors like Microsoft Word, ...

latex
,
crude oil Petroleum (), also known as crude oil and oil, is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid found in geological formations beneath the Earth's surface. It is commonly refined into various types of fuels. Components of petroleum are sep ...
,
cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus '' Gossypium'' in the mallow family Malvaceae. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. Under natural condition ...

cotton
,
coal Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock, formed as stratum, rock strata called coal seams. Coal is mostly carbon with variable amounts of other Chemical element, elements; chiefly hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen. ...

coal
, raw
biomass Biomass is plant or animal material used as fuel to produce electricity or heat. Examples are wood, energy crops and waste from forests, yards, or farms. Since biomass technically can be used as a fuel directly (e.g. wood logs), some people use t ...
,
iron ore Iron ores are rocks and minerals from which metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearance, and ...
,
air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosphere (0.04402961% at April 2019 concentration ). Number ...
, logs,
water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living organisms (in which it acts ...

water
, or "any product of agriculture, forestry, fishing or
mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure form.John P. Rafferty, ed. (20 ...

mineral
in its natural form or which has undergone the transformation required to prepare it for international marketing in substantial volumes". The term ''secondary raw material'' denotes waste material which has been recycled and injected back into use as productive material.


Ceramic

While
pottery Pottery is the process and the products of forming vessels and other objects with clay and other ceramic materials, which are fired at high temperatures to give them a hard, durable form. Major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcel ...

pottery
originated in many different points around the world, it is certain that it was brought to light mostly through the
Neolithic Revolution The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many human cultures during the Neolithic period from a lifestyle of hunter-gatherer, hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and sedentism, se ...
. That is important mostly because of its ability to store and carry a surplus of supplies for the first agrarian. Although most jars and pots were fire-clay
ceramics A ceramic is any of the various hard, brittle, heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant materials made by shaping and then firing a nonmetallic mineral, such as clay, at a high temperature. Common examples are earthenware Earthenware is glazed ...
, Neolithic communities created
kiln , Wrecclesham, Surrey Surrey () is a county in South East England which borders Kent to the east, East Sussex to the southeast, West Sussex to the south, Hampshire to the west, Berkshire to the northwest, and Greater London to the northea ...

kiln
s that were able to fire such materials to remove most of the
water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known living organisms (in which it acts ...

water
to create very stable and hard materials. Without the presence of
clay Clay is a type of fine-grained natural soil material containing clay minerals. Clays develop plasticity (physics), plasticity when wet, due to a molecular film of water surrounding the clay particles, but become hard, brittle and non–plastic ...

clay
on the riverbanks of the Tigris and Euphrates in the Fertile Crescent, such kilns would have been impossible for people in the region to have produced. Using these kilns, the process of
metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of Materials science, materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic Chemical element, elements, their Inter-metallic alloy, inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures, which ...
was possible once the
Bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals (such as aluminum, manganese, nickel or zinc) and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or ...
and
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of Homo sapiens, humanity. It was preceded by the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Chalcolithic) and the Bronze Age ...
s came upon the people that lived there.


Metallic

Many raw metallic materials used in industrial purposes must first be processed into a usable state. Metallic
ore ore – psilomelane (size: 6.7 × 5.8 × 5.1 cm) ore – galena and anglesite (size: 4.8 × 4.0 × 3.0 cm) ore (size: 7.5 × 6.1 × 4.1 cm) File:OreCartPachuca.JPG, upMinecart on display at the Historic Archive and Museum of Min ...

ore
s are first processed through a combination of crushing, roasting, magnetic separation, flotation, and leaching to make them suitable for use in a
foundry A foundry is a factory that produces metal castings. Metals are cast into shapes by melting them into a liquid, pouring the metal into a mold, and removing the mold material after the metal has solidified as it cools. The most common metals pro ...

foundry
. Foundries then
smelt Smelt may refer to: * Smelting, chemical process *The common name of various fish ** Smelt (fish), a family of small fish, Osmeridae ** Australian smelt in the family Retropinnidae and species ''Retropinna semoni'' ** Big-scale sand smelt ''Atherin ...
the ore into usable metal that may be
alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearance, and conducts Elec ...
ed with other materials to improve certain properties. One metallic raw material that is commonly found across the world is
iron Iron () is a chemical element with Symbol (chemistry), symbol Fe (from la, Wikt:ferrum, ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first transition series and group 8 element, group 8 of the periodic table. It is, Abundance ...

iron
, and when combined with
nickel Nickel is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numb ...

nickel
, this material makes up over 35% of the material in the Earth's inner and
outer core Earth's outer core is a fluid layer about thick and composed of mostly iron Iron () is a chemical element with Symbol (chemistry), symbol Fe (from la, Wikt:ferrum, ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first transi ...
. The iron that was initially used as early as 4000 B.C. was called
meteoric iron Meteoric iron, sometimes meteoritic iron, is a native metal A native metal is any metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractu ...
and was found on the surface of the earth, as this type of iron came from the meteorites that struck the earth before the humans appeared and were in very limited supply. This type of
iron Iron () is a chemical element with Symbol (chemistry), symbol Fe (from la, Wikt:ferrum, ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first transition series and group 8 element, group 8 of the periodic table. It is, Abundance ...

iron
is unlike most of the iron in the earth, as the iron in the
earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wit ...
was much deeper than the humans of that time period were able to excavate. The nickel content of the meteoric iron made it not need to be heated up, and instead, it was hammered and shaped into tools and weapons. Metallic raw materials on earth are very close to running out. The current throwaway economy hardly ever reuses the materials that are found in the earth, and unless that changes, there is a very limited amount of time before certain materials from the earth run out. Between
lead Lead is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Pb (from the Latin ) and atomic number 82. It is a heavy metals, heavy metal that is density, denser than most common materials. Lead is Mohs scale of mineral hardness#Intermediate h ...

lead
,
tin Tin is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers ...

tin
,
copper Copper is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same nu ...

copper
,
iron ore Iron ores are rocks and minerals from which metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearance, and ...
, and
bauxite Bauxite is a sedimentary rock with a relatively high aluminium content. It is the world's main source of aluminium and gallium. Bauxite consists mostly of the aluminium minerals gibbsite (Al(OH)3), boehmite (γ-AlO(OH)) and diaspore (α-AlO(OH)) ...
, there are at most 70 years left unless more readily available veins of materials are found in the near future.


Iron ore

Iron ore can be found in a multitude of forms and sources. The primary forms of iron ore today are
Hematite Hematite (), also spelled as haematite, is a common iron oxide Iron oxides are chemical compounds composed of iron and oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element with the chemical symbol, symbol O and atomic number 8. It is a member of ...

Hematite
and
Magnetite Magnetite is a mineral and one of the main iron ore Iron ores are rocks and minerals from which metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, po ...

Magnetite
. While iron ore can be found throughout the world, only the deposits in the order of millions of tonnes are processed for industrial purposes. The top five exporters of Iron ore are Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Canada, and Ukraine. One of the first sources of iron ore is
Bog Iron Bog iron is a form of impure iron Iron () is a chemical element with Symbol (chemistry), symbol Fe (from la, Wikt:ferrum, ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first transition series and group 8 element, group 8 of t ...

Bog Iron
. Bog iron takes the form of pea-sized nodules that are created under peat bogs at the base of mountains.


Conflicts of raw materials

Places with plentiful raw materials and little economic development often show a phenomenon, known as "
Dutch disease In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods ...
" or the "
resource curseThe resource curse, also known as the paradox of plenty or the poverty paradox, is the phenomenon of countries with an abundance of natural resources (such as fossil fuel A fossil fuel is a fuel formed by natural processes, such as anaerobi ...
", which occurs when the economy of a country is mainly based upon its exports because of its method of governance.Bernard Tchibambelela, Le commerce mondial de la faim: stratégie de rupture positive au Congo-Brazzaville, Éditions L'Harmattan, 2009, p. 183. An example of this is the
Democratic Republic of the Congo The Democratic Republic of the Congo ( french: République démocratique du Congo (RDC) ), also known as Congo-Kinshasa, DR Congo, the DRC, the DROC, or the Congo, and formerly Zaire Zaire (), officially the Republic of Zaire (french: ...
. Raw materials are also used by non-humans, such as birds using
found object Found object is a loan translation In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional ...
s and
twig A twig or stick is a thin branch of a tree or bush. The buds on the twig are an important diagnostic characteristic, as are the abscission Abscission (from Latin ''ab'', "away", and ''scindere'', "to cut'") is the shedding of various parts of ...

twig
s to create
nest A nest is a structure built for certain animals to hold eggs An egg is an organic vessel in which an embryo begins to develop. Egg or eggs may also refer to: Food * Egg as food Eggs are laid by female animals of many different species, in ...

nest
s.


See also

*
Bulk cargo Bulk cargo is commodity In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (eco ...
* Bulk materials *
Bulk liquids Bulk cargo is commodity In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (eco ...
*
Biomaterial A biomaterial is a substance that has been engineered to interact with biological systems for a medical purpose, either a therapeutic (treat, augment, repair, or replace a tissue function of the body) or a diagnostic one. As a science, biomaterial ...
*
Commodity In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods ...
*
Conflict resource Conflict resources are natural resource , Malaysia is an example of undisturbed natural resource. Waterfalls provide spring water for humans, animals and plants for survival and also habitat for marine organisms. The water current can be used t ...
*
Critical mineral raw materials Since 2011, the European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive branch of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Treaties of the European Union, ...
*
Downcycling Downcycling, or cascading, is the recycling of waste where the recycled material is of lower quality and functionality than the original material. Often, this is due to the accumulation of tramp elements in secondary metals, which may exclude th ...
*
List of building materials This is a list of building materials. Many types of building material Building material is material used for construction Construction is a general term meaning the art and science to form Physical object, objects, systems, or organizati ...
* Marginal factor cost * Material passport *
Materials science The Interdisciplinarity, interdisciplinary field of materials science, also commonly termed materials science and engineering, covers the design and discovery of new materials, particularly solids. The intellectual origins of materials science ste ...
*
Nature Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and ...

Nature


References


Further reading

Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning 'lover of wis ...

Karl Marx

''Capital'', Vol. 1, Part III, Chap. 7
{{Authority control Materials Minerals