Hello, readers. In this article, you will learn about the various types of metals, as well as their uses and many other things.
Every aspect of engineering involves the use of metal. Metals are used to make objects as small as needles and as large as machines. So, we must learn about metals. Metals can be found in nature for free in their pure and combined states.
Some metals found both in their free state and combined state are platinum, gold, and silver. Metals can also be found as their compounds. For more information, you should continue reading this article, which describes each type of metal. So let’s begin.
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What is a Metal?
A metal is a type of material that conducts electricity and heat relatively well. When metal is freshly crafted, polished, or fractured, it exhibits a lustrous appearance. Metals are usually hammered into thin sheets (malleable) or can be drawn into wires (ductile).
Since the Bronze Age, people have been looking for new ways to develop, refine, and use metals. Until now, metal has advanced in metalworking and manufacturing processes that gave us the Industrial Revolution.
Metals usually have a high melting point and are less likely to degrade under high temperatures. Furthermore, metals are stronger, harder, and more durable than their plastic parts.
There are thousands of different types of metals out there, and each has been developed for very specific applications. We bring you an interesting guide that will help you get to know some of these common metals and where they are used.
Properties of Metals
The properties of metals are crucial to understanding because they reveal which metals offer which qualities. In general, metals have three different types of characteristics:
#1 Physical Property
Physical characteristics of metals include things like their appearance, color, luster, weight, and texture.
#2 Mechanical Property
Mechanical properties of metals, such as hardness, ductility, malleability, and so on, represent their inherent capacity.
#3 Chemical Property
Chemical properties indicate how metals behave in different chemical processes.
Types of Metals
The following are the most common types of metals:
- Carbon steel
- Alloy steel
- Stainless steel
- Pig iron
- Cast iron
- Wrought iron
Steel is a type of alloy of several chemical elements that are made of iron with carbon to improve its strength and fracture resistance. It consists of iron and carbon with higher carbon content up to a maximum of 2%.
Steel is the most widely used material for building infrastructure and industries in the world. It is commonly used to make everything from sewing needles to oil tankers. Since it has high tensile strength and low cost, steel is used in buildings, instruments, cars, machines, electrical equipment, and weapons.
#2 Carbon Steel
Carbon steel is defined as steel that has its properties mainly due to its carbon content and does not contain more than 0.5% of silicon and 1.5% manganese. It is the basic steel that contains carbon and iron, although some other elements may be added in very small amounts.
It is divided into three categories which are low, medium, and high carbon steel. More carbon means harder and stronger, whereas less carbon means cheaper and softer. A common use of this steel is for knife making due to its high carbon content, which helps the blade retain more edge.
#3 Alloy Steel
It is the steel that has elements other than carbon added in sufficient quantity, in order to obtain special properties for the metal, which is known as alloy steel. These alloying elements include manganese, vanadium, chromium, nickel, and tungsten.
It is generally done to increase its strength, hardness, toughness, resistance to abrasion and wear and to improve electrical as well as magnetic properties. It is an extremely common type of metal because it is still very cheap to make. This steel is used to make pipes, especially for energy-related applications.
#4 Stainless Steel
It is defined as that steel when directly heat-treated and finished resists oxidation and corroding from corrosive media. It is also known as rust-free steel because it contains a minimum of about 11% chromium that prevents iron from rusting and also provides heat-resistant properties.
The various types of stainless steel include the elements carbon, nitrogen, silicon, sulfur, titanium, copper, and more. Use of stainless steel is commonly found in kitchen tools, knives, tables, utensils, and anything that comes into contact with food. In addition, they have also used highly stress fittings such as bars, sheets, and wires in engines and machines.
Iron is a chemical element that is represented as the symbol Fe. It comes in the first transition series and group 8 of the periodic table. Even though it’s a super old-fashioned metal during the “Iron Age,” it still has plenty of modern uses.
Iron is the most commonly used and cheapest metal on Earth. Iron is further classified into three types which are pig iron, cast iron, and wrought iron.
#6 Pig Iron
It is a crude form of iron and is used as a raw material for the production of various other ferrous metals, such as cast iron, wrought iron, and steel. These irons are gained by smelting raw iron ores in a blast furnace.
Pig iron has a very high carbon content of 3.8–4.7%, with silica and other components of the aggregate. This makes it very brittle and not directly useful as a material except in limited applications. The common use of this iron is found in an electric arc furnace which is for making steel.
#7 Cast Iron
Cast iron is obtained by further melting pig iron with coke and limestone in a furnace called a cupola. It is the primary allow of iron and carbon. The carbon contents in cast iron vary from 1.7% to 4.5%.
In addition, it also contains a small amount of silicon, manganese, phosphorus, and sulfur. Since it is a brittle material, therefore it cannot be used in parts that are subject to shock. The cast iron provides good casting properties, high strength, wear-resistance, and low cost.
#8 Wrought Iron
It is a type of iron alloy that has a very low carbon content of about 0.08%, unlike cast iron. Wrought iron offers many mechanical properties such as toughness, ductility, ductility, and corrosion-resistant. Plus, they are easily welded but are more difficult to weld electrically.
These types of metals are highly purified metals, with small amounts of silicate slag being moulded into the filaments. The presence of slag can be beneficial for blacksmithing jobs such as forging. They are used to make many products such as guard rails, garden furniture, and gates.
Aluminum is a type of metal with the symbol Al and atomic number 13. It is a bluish-white, light metal having a specific gravity of 2.7 and a melting point is 658°C. The density of the metal is lower than that of other common metals, about one-third that of steel.
In its pure state, the metal would be weak and soft for most purposes, but when mixed with small amounts of other alloys, it becomes hard and rigid. So, it may be blanked, formed, drawn turned, cast, forged, and then die cast. It has good electrical conductivity is an important property and is widely used for overhead cables. Also used in aircraft and automobile parts.
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and has an atomic number of 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with a reddish-brown appearance. Its specific gravity is 8.9 and its melting point is 1083°C. Copper is not found in a pure state from under the earth.
It provides good conductivity of electricity. The metal may be cast, forged, rolled, and drawn into wires. It is used extensively in making electric wire and wire, for electrical machinery and equipment, in electrotyping and electroplating, and in making coins and household utensils.
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In today’s world, brass is the most commonly used copper and zinc alloy. There are different types of brass available depending on the ratio of copper and zinc. By adding small amounts of other elements, the properties of the brass can be quite changed which can be either mechanical, electrical, or chemical.
The brass has greater strength than that copper but has a lower thermal and electrical conductivity. These are very resistant to atmospheric corrosion and can be easily soldered. The common applications are found in the making of locks, gears, brings, valves, etc.
The alloys of copper and tin are usually known as bronzes. The useful mixture of components is 75 to 95% copper and 5 to 25% tin. These types of metals are comparatively hard, resist surface wear, and can be shaped or rolled into wires, rods, and sheets very easily.
As it offers corrosion resistance properties, bronzes are superior compared to brasses. Bronze is also more molten which means more easily melted and therefore easier to cast. Aluminum bronzes are particularly strong and are cast or forged in pipe fittings, pumps, gears, ships, and turbine blades.
Cobalt is a type of chemical element with the symbol Co and atomic number 27. It is similar to iron and nickel is added to its physical properties. Cobalt is a free element produced by reductive smelting and is a hard, lustrous, silvery-gray metal.
Cobalt is commonly found in plants and animals, air, water, soil, and rocks. It can also enter other environments by washing away cobalt-rich soil and rock with wind-blown dust or rainwater. It is used in many alloys that are used to make parts for aircraft engines, gas turbines, and high-speed steel.
Magnesium is also a type of chemical element with the symbol Mg and has an atomic number of 12. It is a lustrous gray solid that shares many physical and chemical properties. This is the lightest metal and has a tensile strength of the cast metal is 910 kg/cm2.
These types of metals are harder than aluminum and can be readily machined and under the buffering wheel, it takes a high polish. It is preferable when it is important to reduce weight, because of its low density of 1.74. These types of metals are used to make sheets, wires, rods, tubes, etc.
It is a type of chemical element with the symbol Ni and its atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white metal capable of taking a high polish. Its specific gravity is 8.85 and its melting point is 1452°C. In addition, it is almost as hard as soft steel.
In cases when it contains little carbon, it shows quite malleable properties. It is less ductile than soft steel, but the ductility becomes much better when there is little magnesium. It is mostly used as a coating for other metals such as steel, copper, brass, etc. for both decorative and corrosion protection purposes.
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Lead is a chemical component with the symbol Pb and has the atomic number 82. It is heavy in weight that is denser than most common materials. These metals are softer and malleable, and also have a relatively low melting point.
It is a bluish-grey metal having a specific gravity of 1.36 and its melting point is 326°C. Since it is a soft metal, it can be easily cut with a blade. Also, it has no tenacity. The lead is generally used for making solders, as a lining for acid tanks, cisterns, water pipes, and as coating electrical cables.
The representative symbol of tin is Sn and its atomic number is 50. Tin is a silver-colored metal that typically has a pale yellow tinge. Tin is soft enough to be cut with little force and a strip of tin can be folded by hand with little effort.
It is brightly shining white metal plus soft, malleable and ductile. The metal can be easily rolled into a very thin sheet. Tin is generally used for making important alloys fine solder, as a protective coating for iron and steel sheets, and for making tin foils used as moisture-proof packing.
As being a chemical element, it is represented as symbol Zn and atomic number 30. Zinc is a brittle metal and has a silver-brown appearance when no oxidation occurs. The specific gravity of zinc is 7.1 and its melting point is 420°C.
Due to its high resistance to atmospheric corrosion, it is used for covering steel sheets to form galvanized iron. When rolled into sheets, zinc is used for roof covering and for providing a damp-proof non-corrosive lining to containers, etc. The other important uses of zinc are in the manufacture of brasses and in the production of zinc base die casting.
It is also a chemical piece with the symbol Ti and the atomic number 22. Titanium is found in nature, it can be reduced to produce a lustrous transition metal with a silver color, low density, high strength, and corrosion-resistant.
It is a lightweight, high-strength, low-corrosion metal and is used as an alloy for parts in high-speed aircraft. Titanium can be mixed with iron, aluminum, and other elements to produce strong, lightweight alloys for aerospace, automotive, mobile phones, and other applications.
Tungsten is the chemical type of element with the symbol W and atomic number 74. It is a rare metal that occurs naturally on Earth in the form of compounds with other elements. Tungsten has a melting point of 3,422 °C and also has the highest boiling point of 5,930 °C.
These types of metals density are 19.25 grams per cubic centimeter, which is equal to that of uranium and gold. Tungsten has been used in many alloys and has many applications. The common application includes light bulbs, X-ray tubes, electrodes in gas welding, superalloys, and radiation shielding.
It is a type of chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. It is a hard, brittle, solid with a bluish-gray metal. Silicon is the second most large element in the Earth’s crust, being exceeded only by oxygen.
Its melting point is 1414 °C and its boiling point is 3265 °C. It has a low cost due to the use of well-established processing techniques. It is available to see in dynamo and transformer plates, engine blocks, cylinder heads, machine tools manufacturing, and more.
Silver is represented as the symbol Ag and the atomic number 47. It is a soft, white, lustrous transition metal, displaying the highest electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity. It is found in pure form in the earth’s crust and is the free native form of native silver.
This is an alloy with gold and some added mixture of other metals. Silver has long been valued as a precious metal and is used to make many bullion coins. In addition to currency, silver is used in solar panels, water filtration, jewelry, high-value tableware, and utensils. Its mixtures are also used in photographic and X-ray film.
Gold is a type of transition metal and falls in the same periodic table column as silver and copper. It is denoted as the symbol Au and has an atomic number of 79. Gold is a bright, light orange-yellow color, dense, soft, malleable, and ductile in the pure form of the metal.
Gold is, in fact, one of the first metals known to man, having originated by the Egyptians. In addition, it has always been a symbol of wealth and beauty. Being a rare element, gold is a precious metal that has been used throughout history to make coins, jewelry, and other arts.
Periodic Table of Metals
The figure below shows the list of metals in the periodic table:
Wrapping It Up
Nowadays metal is something without which we can do nothing, in fact, it is a part of human civilization because of the discoveries made on them. Metals are good conductors of heat and electricity whereas non-metals are not. Each type of metal offers its own properties and uses.
Now, I hope I’ve covered everything you were looking for about “Types of Metals”. If you still have any doubts or questions regarding this topic, leave a comment below I’ll definitely reply. If you liked it, then share this with your friends.
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