Top 10 Different Types Of Metal (Facts And Uses)

December 29, 2022

Different Types Of Metal

The industrial revolution was made possible by using metals and advanced manufacturing techniques. This sparked exponential growth in human civilization, bringing us to our current state. Different kinds of metals are now present everywhere around us.

You likely come into contact with dozens of different metals every day. Here is a useful guide explaining some of these typical metals and where to find them.

Top 10 Different Types Of Metal

1. Iron (Wrought Or Cast)

Even though it was quite popular during the "iron era," this metal still has several modern applications. One reason is that it is the main component of steel. But in addition to that, below are some other uses for iron and a justification for their use:

  • Certain cookware, such as skillets, have porous surfaces that allow cooking oils to absorb and produce a naturally non-stick finish.
  • Wood stoves can withstand high temperatures because cast iron has a very high melting point.
  • Heavy metal is used in the bases and frames of large machinery to offer rigidity and reduce vibration.

FUN FACT: Iron is the sixth most prevalent element in the universe.

2. Steel

This metal is, without a doubt, the most common in the modern world. By definition, steel is just carbon and iron (the element). The ratio is typically 99% iron and 1% carbon; however, it might vary somewhat.

In 2017, about 1.8 billion tonnes of steel were manufactured worldwide (half of which was produced in China). An African elephant typically weighs 5 tonnes. Elephants stacked one on the other to create an extremely bizarre bridge to the moon (which is not at all conceivable) would still not weigh as much as the steel produced each year.

Steel comes in a variety of forms. The major categories are as follows:

  • Carbon Steel
  • Alloy Steel
  • Stainless Steel 

3. Copper

Another vintage metal is copper. Today, you can get it in an alloy (more on that later) or a relatively pure state. Electronics, water pipes, and enormous liberty monuments are common applications. A patina, or oxidized layer, will develop on copper, stopping further corrosion. In essence, it will turn green, and corrosion will halt. This extends its lifespan to centuries.

4. Brass

In reality, brass is a copper and zinc alloy. The resulting yellow metal is quite beneficial for several purposes. Due to its goldish hue, it is extremely popular for decorating. Antique furniture frequently uses this metal for handles and knobs.

It may also be pounded out and shaped because it is quite pliable. It is used for brass instruments like tubas, trumpets, and trombones because of this. They are strong and easy to form with a hammer.

Brass also has the awesome quality of never sparking. For instance, if you strike a steel hammer in a specific way, it can flash. An iron hammer won't accomplish that. This means that situations where there may be flammable gases, liquids, or powders, are ideal for using brass tools.

5. Zinc

The usefulness of Zinc metal makes it intriguing. It has a rather low melting point on its own, which makes casting it relatively simple. When melted, the substance flows freely, and the resulting chunks are fairly sturdy. Additionally, recycling it by melting it back down is relatively simple.

Zinc is a very popular metal used as a protective covering for other metals. Galvanized steel, which is essentially just steel that has been dipped in zinc, is a popular example. This will prevent corrosion. A fun fact is that half of the 12 million tonnes of zinc produced yearly is utilized for galvanizing.

6. Nickel

Nickel is a very prevalent element that is found everywhere. It is most frequently used in producing stainless steel, which increases the metal's durability and resistance to corrosion. Stainless steel is produced using about 70% of the world's nickel. It's interesting to note that only 25% of the five-cent American coin is composed of nickel.

Another popular metal for plating and alloying is nickel. Equipment for chemistry and labs, as well as other objects that require a highly smooth, polished surface, can all be coated with it.

FUN FACT: The name nickel comes from a German legend from the Middle Ages. Although nickel ore resembles copper ore, the old miners blamed a naughty sprite called nickel when they couldn't extract copper from it.

7. TIN

Tin is very pliable and flexible. It is a component of alloys used to create items like bronze (1/8 tin and 7/8 copper). Pewter also contains a large portion of it (85%–99%).

Fun fact: You may hear a "tin cry" sound when you bend a tin bar. The crystal structure is rebuilding itself, producing a twanging sound (called twining).

FUN FACT: The earliest alloy created by humans was made of bronze.

8. Titanium

This new metal is truly wonderful. It was initially discovered in 1791, made in its purest form for the first time in 1910, and produced outside of a lab for the first time in 1932. Although titanium is the seventh most abundant metal on Earth, it is extremely difficult to purify. This explains why this metal costs so much. Additionally, it is very valuable.

  • Because titanium is biocompatible, your body won't rebel against it and reject it. Titanium is a common material for medical implants.
  • It has a greater strength-to-weight ratio than any other metal. As a result, it has tremendous value for everything that flies.
  • Resilient to corrosion
  • Metal cutting tools are coated with titanium nitride, an incredibly stiff and low-friction material created when titanium reacts with nitrogen in a high-energy vacuum.

FUN FACT: Titanium resists corrosion because it reacts with oxygen immediately, forming a thin, tough barrier that shields the metal. A new barrier forms immediately when the old one is removed. It resembles self-healing in some ways.

BONUS INTERESTING FACT: Titanium does not occur naturally by itself. Another element always joins it.

9. Magnesium

Magnesium is a really interesting metal. It weighs about two-thirds as much as aluminum but is just as strong. As a result, it is becoming more and more common. This is most frequently seen as an alloy. The result is a hybrid material with particular qualities that they created by combining it with other metals and elements. It may also be simpler to use in production procedures as a result.

Magnesium is commonly used in the automobile industry. Magnesium is considered an improvement over aluminum regarding high-strength weight reduction and isn't significantly more expensive. In performance vehicles, magnesium is found in transmission cases, engine blocks, and wheel rims.

Magnesium does have some drawbacks, though. It will rust more quickly than aluminum. For instance, metal won't corrode but will rust when exposed to water. It costs nearly twice as much as aluminum, although it can work with it more quickly in manufacturing. Magnesium burns extremely hot and is highly flammable. Metal chips, filings, and powder must be disposed of carefully to avoid explosions.

10. Bronze

Although tin makes up about 12% of its composition, copper makes up most of it. The end product is a more durable and hardy metal than regular copper. Additionally, bronze may be an alloy containing other elements. For instance, common alloy components include aluminum, nickel, zinc, and manganese. Each of these can significantly alter the metal.

Bronze is a distinctive and significant historical significance (such as in the Bronze Age). Huge church bells are one typical example of where to witness it. Due to its strength and toughness, bronze doesn't bend or shatter when struck like other metals. It sounds good as well. Modern applications include guitar strings, springs, bearings, and works of art.

FUN FACT: The earliest alloy created by humans was made of bronze.

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