They do not take up space in cargo racks. Instead, materials have a separate inventory, and are only stored in tiny quantities. The maximum that can be carried at once is 1000 units of materials and 500 units of data.
Materials remain available when switching between vehicles, and in the case of vehicle destruction they are saved by the pilot's escape system.
Material Categories Edit
Materials can be classified into 1 of 3 categories.
Naturally occurring chemical elements.
From scanning various sources.
Material Grades Edit
Within each material category, materials come in 5 different grades representing their rarity, with rarer materials providing greater effects when used.