common types of metals

Understanding the common types of metal, their properties & uses

A metal is a material that is good at conducting electricity and heat. Metal has a brilliant appearance when it is freshly created, polished, or shattered. Metals can be pulled into wires or hammered into thin sheets (malleable) (ductile). Metals have a high melting point and are less prone to disintegrate when exposed to extreme heat. Metals are also more robust, stronger, and harder than their plastic counterparts. There are thousands of various types of metals available, each of which has been produced for a specific purpose. We’ve put together an informative guide to help you learn about some of the most popular metals and how they’re used.

common types of metals

Read more: Different types of metals and their classifications

Well, in this article we’ll be talking about the common types of metal, their properties & uses, where we’ll also take a good look at the following content:

  • What is Metal?
  • What are the Types of Metal?
  • What are the Properties of Metal?


What is Metal?

Metal is any a group of substances with strong thermal and electrical conductivity, malleability, ductility, and high light reflection. Metals make up about 75 percent of all chemical elements that are currently understood. Aluminum, iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium are the elements that are most prevalent in the crust of the Earth. Most metals are found in ores (materials that contain minerals), although some, like copper, gold, platinum, and silver, often turn up in the free state because they do not easily react with other elements.

Usually, metals are crystalline solids. They typically have a simple crystal structure that is characterized by strong atom packing and a high level of symmetry. Metal atoms often have fewer than half of their total number of electrons in their outermost shell. This property makes metals less likely to combine to form compounds. However, nonmetals (such as oxygen and sulfur), which typically contain more than half the maximum amount of valence electrons, communicate with them more easily. The chemical reactivity of different metals varies greatly. Lithium, potassium, and radium are among the most reactive; gold, silver, palladium, and platinum are among the least reactive.

The free-electron theory offers the best reason for the high electrical and thermal conductivities of the simple metals (i.e., the non-transition metals of the periodic table). According to this theory, the individual atoms in these metals have lost their valence electrons to the solid as a whole. The free electrons that result from this loss are what cause conductivity, and they move as a group inside the solid. The band theory, which considers both the presence of free electrons and their interaction with so-called d electrons, is a better explanation for conductivities in the case of the more complex metals (i.e., the transition elements). It is common to attribute the mechanical properties of metals, such as hardness, durability under repeated stress (fatigue strength), ductility, and malleability, to flaws or faults in their crystal structure. For instance, a metal can deform plastically and avoid being brittle since there isn’t an atom layer in its densely packed structure.

What are the Types of Metal?

The various types of metals that are common in the industries today include Steel, Carbon steel, Alloy steel, Stainless steel, Iron, Pig iron, Cast iron, Wrought iron, Aluminum, Copper, Brass, Bronze, Cobalt, Magnesium, Nickel, Lead, Tin, Zinc, Titanium, Tungsten, Silicon, Silver, and Gold.


Steel is a chemical alloy consisting of iron and carbon that improves the strength and fracture resistance of the material. It is made primarily from iron and carbon, with a greater carbon content of up to 2%. Steel is the most frequently utilized material in the world for infrastructure and industry. Everything from sewing needles to oil tankers is made with it. Steel is utilized in structures, instruments, cars, machines, electrical equipment, and weaponry because of its high tensile strength and low cost.

Steel table

Read more: Understanding powder metallurgy

Carbon Steel:

Carbon steel is defined as steel with qualities mostly derived from carbon content and containing no more than 0.5 percent silicon and 1.5 percent manganese. Although some other elements may be added in very small amounts, it is the basic steel that comprises carbon and iron. Carbon steel is classified into three categories: low, medium, and high carbon steel. More carbon suggests a product is harder and stronger, whereas less carbon means a product is less expensive and softer. Because of its high carbon content, which helps the blade retain its edge, this steel is commonly used in knife manufacture.

carbon steel

Alloy Steel:

Alloy steel is steel that has elements other than carbon added in sufficient quantities to give the metal-specific qualities. Manganese, vanadium, chromium, nickel, and tungsten are some of the alloying elements. It’s usually done to improve the material’s strength, hardness, toughness, abrasion, and wear resistance, as well as its electrical and magnetic properties. It is a highly common metal since it is still very inexpensive to produce. Pipes, particularly for energy-related applications, are made from this steel.

alloy steel

Read more: Understanding the difference between metals and non-metals

Stainless Steel:

This type of metal is defined as steel that resists oxidation and corroding from corrosive media when heat-treated and polished directly. It’s also known as rust-free steel because it includes at least 11% chromium, which prevents iron from rusting while also providing heat resistance. Carbon, nitrogen, silicon, sulfur, titanium, copper, and other elements are found in various varieties of stainless steel. Kitchen tools, knives, tables, utensils, and anything else that comes into touch with food are all made of stainless steel. They’ve also employed high-stress fittings in engines and machinery, such as bars, sheets, and wires.

Stainless steel


Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe for its symbol. It belongs to the periodic table’s first transition series and group 8. Even though it was a very old metal during the “Iron Age,” it still has a lot of modern applications. Iron is the most widely used and least expensive metal on the planet. Pig iron, cast iron, and wrought iron are the three types of iron that can be found.


Read more: Understanding industrial metal finishing processes

Pig Iron:

It’s a kind of iron that’s utilized as a raw material to make other ferrous metals including cast iron, wrought iron, and steel. Smelting raw iron ores in a blast furnace produce these irons. With silica and other aggregate components, pig iron has a very high carbon content of 3.8–4.7 percent. As a result, it is extremely fragile and only has a few applications as a material. This iron is commonly found in an electric arc furnace, which is used to make steel.

Pig iron

Cast Iron:

Cast iron is made by melting pig iron, coke, and limestone together in a cupola furnace. It’s the main source of iron and carbon. Cast iron has a carbon percentage ranging from 1.7 percent to 4.5 percent. A little quantity of silicon, manganese, phosphorus, and sulfur are also present. It cannot be utilized in sections that are sensitive to shock because it is a fragile material. Cast iron has excellent casting qualities, as well as great strength, wear resistance, and a reasonable cost.

cast iron pipe

Wrought Iron:

Unlike cast iron, these types of metals are iron alloys with a very low carbon percentage of roughly 0.08 percent. Wrought iron has a variety of mechanical qualities, including toughness, ductility, and corrosion resistance. Furthermore, they are easily welded but more difficult to electrically weld. Small amounts of silicate slag are molded into the filaments of these metals, which are highly pure metals. For blacksmithing activities like forging, the presence of slag can be advantageous. Guard rails, garden furniture, and gates are just a few of the things made from them.

wrought iron

Read more: Understanding wrought iron


Aluminum is a type of metal with the atomic number 13 and the symbol Al. It’s a light, bluish-white metal with a specific gravity of 2.7 and a melting point of 658 degrees Celsius. The metal’s density is around one-third that of steel, making it less dense than other popular metals. The metal would be weak and mushy in its pure state for most applications, but when mixed with minute amounts of other alloys, it becomes strong and stiff. As a result, it could be blanked, shaped, drawn turned, cast, forged, and finally die cast. It has a high electrical conductivity, which is a crucial quality for overhead cables. Parts for aircraft and automobiles are also made of this material.


Read more: Heat Treatment of Aluminum and Aluminum alloys


Copper is a chemical element with the atomic number 29 and the symbol Cu. It is a reddish-brown metal that is soft, malleable, and ductile. It has an 8.9 specific gravity and a melting point of 1083°C. Copper is not found in its purest form underground. It has excellent electrical conductivity. Cast, forged, rolled, and pulled into wires are all options for the metal. It’s widely utilized in the manufacture of electric wire and wire, as well as electrical gear and equipment, electrotyping and electroplating, coinage, and domestic utensils.

copper material

Read more: Heat treatment of copper and copper alloys


Brass is the most widely used copper and zinc alloy in today’s globe. Various varieties of brass are available, depending on the copper-to-zinc ratio. The qualities of brass can be drastically altered by introducing small amounts of other elements, which can be mechanical, electrical, or chemical. Brass is more durable than copper, although it has less thermal and electrical conductivity. These are extremely resistant to air corrosion and are simple to solder. Locks, gears, brings, valves, and other frequent uses can be discovered.



Bronze is a term used to describe copper and tin alloys. 75 to 95 percent copper and 5 to 25 percent tin are the most useful proportions. These metals are rather hard, have a high resistance to surface wear, and can be easily molded or rolled into wires, rods, and sheets. Bronzes are superior to brasses because they have better corrosion resistance. Bronze is also more molten, which means it can be melted more easily and so cast more easily. Pipe fittings, pumps, gears, ships, and turbine blades are all made of aluminum bronzes, which are cast or forged.


Read more: Difference Between Nonferrous and Ferrous metals


The chemical element cobalt has the symbol Co and the atomic number 27. Its physical properties are identical to those of iron, with the addition of nickel. Cobalt is a strong, shiny, silvery-gray metal that is created via reductive smelting. Cobalt can be found in plants and animals, as well as in the air, water, soil, and rocks. Wind-blown dust or rainwater can also wash away cobalt-rich soil and rock, allowing them to enter other habitats. Many alloys, including those used to create parts for aviation engines, gas turbines, and high-speed steel, contain it.


Periodic Table of Metals:

Periodic table of metals


Magnesium, usually known as Mg, is a chemical element with the atomic number 12 and the symbol Mg. It’s a glossy gray solid with a lot of physical and chemical features in common. This is the lightest metal, with a cast metal tensile strength of 910 kg/cm2. These kinds of metals are tougher than aluminum and can be easily machined. They also accept a high polish under the buffering wheel. Because of its low density of 1.74, it is preferred when weight loss is a priority. Sheets, wires, rods, tubes, and other products are made from these metals.


Read more: Different Types of Nonferrous Metals and their Uses


Silicon has the symbol Si and the atomic number 14 and is a chemical element. It’s a bluish-gray metal that’s hard, brittle, and solid. Only oxygen outnumbers silicon as the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. It has a melting point of 1414 degrees Celsius and a boiling point of 3265 degrees Celsius. Due to the use of well-established processing procedures, it is inexpensive. It can be found in dynamo and transformer plates, engine blocks, cylinder heads, and the fabrication of machine tools, among other places.



Silver has the atomic number 47 and is symbolized by the symbol Ag. It’s a soft, white, glossy transition metal with the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any transition metal. It is the free native form of native silver and is found in pure form in the earth’s crust. This is a gold alloy with a few other metals thrown in for good measure. Silver has traditionally been regarded as a valuable metal, and many bullion coins are made of it. Silver is used in solar panels, water purification, jewelry, high-value dinnerware, and utensils, in addition to cash. Photographic and X-ray film is also made with its mixes.



Gold is a transition metal, which means it belongs in the same column as silver and copper in the periodic table. Its atomic number is 79 and it is represented by the symbol Au. In its purest form, gold is a dazzling, light orange-yellow tint, dense, soft, malleable, and ductile metal. Gold is one of the oldest metals known to mankind, having been discovered by the Egyptians. It has also historically served as a symbol of prosperity and beauty. Gold is a rare material that has been used to manufacture coins, jewelry, and other works of art throughout history.



These types of metals have their chemical element with the atomic number 28 and the symbol Ni. It’s a silvery-white metal that may be polished to a high sheen. It has an 8.85 specific gravity and a melting point of 1452°C. Furthermore, it is nearly as hard as mild steel. It has quite flexible qualities when there isn’t much carbon in it. It is less ductile than soft steel, however, when the magnesium content is low, the ductility improves dramatically. It’s usually utilized as a decorative and corrosion-resistant coating for other metals like steel, copper, brass, and so on.


Read more: Understanding Machining process and machine tool


Lead is a chemical element with the atomic number 82 and the symbol Pb. It is heavier than most conventional materials and has a higher density. These metals are softer and more pliable, as well as having a lower melting point. It has a specific gravity of 1.36 and a melting point of 326°C. It is a bluish-grey metal with a specific gravity of 1.36. Because it’s a soft metal, it’s easy to cut with a blade. It also lacks tenacity. Lead is commonly used to make solders, as well as to line acid tanks, cisterns, and water pipes, as well as to coat electrical cables.



Tin’s chemical symbol is Sn, and its atomic number is 50. Tin is a silvery metal with a slight yellow tint. Tin is soft enough to cut with little force, and a strip of tin can be folded easily by hand. It’s a gleaming white metal that’s also soft, malleable, and ductile. The metal may be rolled into a very thin sheet very simply. Tin is commonly used to make fine solder for key alloys, as a protective covering for iron and steel sheets, and to produce tin foils for moisture-proof packing.



Zinc is a chemical element with the symbol Zn and the atomic number 30. When no oxidation occurs, zinc is a brittle metal with a silver-brown color. Zinc has a specific gravity of 7.1 and a melting point of 420°C. These types of metals are used to cover steel sheets to make galvanized iron because of their strong resistance to air corrosion. Zinc is rolled into sheets and used as a roof covering and a damp-proof, non-corrosive lining for containers, among other things. Other notable uses of zinc include the fabrication of brasses and zinc base die casting.



This type of metal also has the symbol Ti and the atomic number 22. Titanium is a beautiful transition metal with a silver hue, low density, great strength, and corrosion resistance that can be found in nature. It’s a lightweight, high-strength, low-corrosion metal that’s utilized in high-speed aviation parts as an alloy. Titanium can be combined with other elements such as iron, aluminum, and other metals to create strong, lightweight alloys for use in aerospace, automotive, mobile phones, and other applications.



The chemical element tungsten has the symbol W and the atomic number 74. It is an uncommon metal that occurs in nature as compounds with other elements on Earth. Tungsten has the greatest melting point of 3,422 degrees Celsius and the highest boiling point of 5,930 degrees Celsius. The density of these metals is 19.25 grams per cubic centimeter, which is the same as uranium and gold. Tungsten is utilized in a variety of alloys and has a wide range of uses. Light bulbs, X-ray tubes, gas welding electrodes, superalloys, and radiation shielding are all examples of typical applications.


The above explanation is about the common types of metals used in industries today. I hope you find this article interesting, if so, kindly share it with other students. Thanks for reading, see you around!

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What are the Properties of Metal?

Listed below are common properties of metal:

  • Mechanical Properties
  • Physical Properties
  • Chemical Properties

Mechanical Properties

The ability of a material to stand up to various external forces, such as shear stresses, loads, environmental factors, and time, is known as its mechanical property. The metal’s durability against shearing, stretching, twisting, compression as well, or breaking under a specific set of situations can be measured by mechanical engineers. Once identified, these mechanical properties can be used to judge a material’s fitness for a certain activity as well as its capacity to handle abrupt loads and pressures. The most frequent tests used to ascertain a metal’s features are listed below.

Physical Properties

With the exception of mercury, which is liquid at room temperature (Gallium is liquid on hot days), all metals are solid at room temperature.

Chemical Properties

Both metals and nonmetals play an important part in our daily lives. Without nonmetals like oxygen, we wouldn’t be able to survive, and without metals, it would be difficult. What chemical principles explain these substances? Let’s learn more about how metals and nonmetals are chemically.

Start by discussing the chemical properties of the metals:

  • In general, metals have a high density.
  • Metals are ductile and malleable.
  • Metals combine with other metals or non-metals to form mixtures.
  • Some metals rust when exposed to air.

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