Matter vs. Material: The Difference between Matter and Material

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People often confuse between the words matter and material. Mostly people use these words interchangeably but there is an important difference between matter and material.

Matter is anything that has mass. Therefore, everything around us comes under the definition of the matter (except for energy! But then according to Albert Einstein‘s famous equation, energy and matter are inter-convertible). Elements like sulfur, gold, and potassium; compounds like water, air and coffee — everything is matter and matter can exists in a number of states.

Material is any matter that we intend to use. So, essentially, material is just a word for referring to the matter which has a specific purpose for us. For example, construction material. If a log of wood is just lying on the roadside as you drive-by, it is matter. But if you pick-up that wooden log with the intention of crafting something out of it, then the log becomes wooden material. Such matter is basically raw material which becomes some useful object after we take it through a process.

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