A metal is a substance that exhibits a shiny appearance when it is freshly manufactured, polished, or shattered and conducts electricity and heat rather effectively. Usually, metals are ductile or malleable. Metal can be a chemical element like iron, an alloy like stainless steel, a molecular complex like polymeric sulfur nitride, or any combination of these.
Any substance that can conduct electricity at absolute zero is typically referred to be metal in physics. Under extreme pressures, a variety of substances that are not typically categorized as metals turn metallic.
For instance, at pressures between 40- and 170,000 times atmospheric pressure, the non-metallic element iodine progressively turns into a metal. Likewise, some substances that are thought of as metals can change into non-metals. For instance, sodium turns to become a nonmetal under a pressure that is over two million times that of the atmosphere.
Arsenic and antimony, two elements that in physics would be regarded as brittle metals, are commonly referred to as semimetals because of their chemistry (predominantly non-metallic for arsenic and between metallicity and no metallicity for antimony).
The periodic table contains 118 elements, 95 of which are expected to be metals. The figure is approximate since there are no widely accepted definitions of the categories involved, which causes the distinctions between metals, non-metals, and semi-metals to vary significantly.
- 1 Classification of metals
- 2 Types of metals
- 3 Types of metals in the periodic table
- 4 FAQs
- 4.1 What is Metal?
- 4.2 What are the Types of Metal?
- 4.3 What are the 10 examples of metals?
- 4.4 What are the four groups of metals?
- 4.5 What are the properties of metals?
- 4.6 What is the characteristic of metals?
- 4.7 How do you identify a metal?
- 4.8 How is metal formed?
- 4.9 What are the uses of metals in our life?
- 4.10 Kindly Share!
Classification of metals
Metals can be divided into groups based on their chemical or physical characteristics. The categories included in the following subsections include:
- Ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
- Brittle metals.
- Refractory metals.
- White metals.
- Heavy and light metals.
- Base, noble, and precious metals.
- Valve metals.
Ferrous and non-ferrous metals
Non-ferrous metals lack iron while ferrous metals do. The more thorough response is that both ferrous and non-ferrous metals have unique characteristics of their own. The applications they are best suited for are determined by these characteristics.
- Ferrous metals
- Non-ferrous metals
Pure iron is too soft and ductile to be much used as an engineering material. Most of the iron atoms pack closely together in neat layers as the metal cools and solidifies from a liquid state.
However, some drift out of alignment, resulting in weak spots known as dislocations. Layers of atoms in these regions slide over one another when a piece of iron is under stress, causing the metal to bend. This starts to explain why soft iron is ductile. However, we may create a variety of alloys with quite varied characteristics by adding carbon to the iron. They are known as carbon steels. An alloy is a combination of two or more chemical elements, with metal as the main component.
Alloy steel, carbon steel, cast iron, and wrought iron are some typical ferrous metals. Because of their tensile strength and longevity, these metals are highly valued. Ferrous metals are also utilized in numerous industrial and residential appliances, cars, railroad lines, shipping containers, and industrial piping.
Ferrous metals typically rust easily when exposed to moisture because of their high carbon content. There are two exceptions to this rule: stainless steel is shielded from rust by the presence of chromium, and wrought iron is resistant to rust due to its purity. The fact that most ferrous metals are magnetic makes them ideal for use in electrical and motor applications. Your refrigerator door’s use of ferrous metals enables you to use a magnet to attach your shopping list to it.
Aluminum, copper, lead, zinc, and tin are examples of non-ferrous metals, as are precious metals like gold and silver. Their malleability gives them a significant edge over ferrous materials. They are perfect for gutters, liquid pipelines, roofs, and outdoor signage because they also contain no iron, which increases their resistance to rust and corrosion. They are also non-magnetic, which is crucial for many electrical and electronic applications.
Read more: Understanding screw and bolt
Few metals—namely, beryllium, chromium, manganese, gallium, and bismuth—are brittle, even though nearly other metals are malleable or ductile. If accepted as metals, arsenic and antimony are brittle. Indicators of inherent brittleness include low values of Pugh’s criterion, which measures the ratio of bulk elastic modulus to shear modulus.
A refractory metal is a metal that exhibits extraordinary heat and wears resistance. It is used in materials science, metallurgy, and engineering. The list of metals that fall under this group might vary, but the most popular definition includes rhenium, tantalum, niobium, molybdenum, and tantalum. They all have high room temperature hardness and melting temperatures above 2000 °C.
Any variety of white metals (or their alloys) with relatively low melting points is referred to as white metal. These metals include lead, bismuth, cadmium, tin, antimony (which is included here), and zinc, and some of them are highly poisonous. In auction catalogs, the fine art industry in Britain refers to foreign silver objects without British Assay Office stamps as “white metal,” even though they are believed to be made of silver and are priced as such.
Read more: Difference between brazing and soldering
Heavy and light metals
Any relatively dense metal or metalloid is a heavy metal. Although more precise definitions have been put forth, none have been widely accepted. Some heavy metals have specialized functions or are very poisonous, while others are required in minute quantities. Light metals include all other metals.
Base, noble, and precious metals
A metal that is quickly corroded or oxidized, such as one that readily reacts with diluted hydrochloric acid (HCl) to produce metal chloride and hydrogen, is referred to as a base metal in chemistry. Iron, nickel, lead, and zinc are some examples. Though it doesn’t react with HCl, copper is regarded as a base metal due to how easy it may oxidize. A 1 g powder, a 1 g cylinder that has been pressed, and a 1 g pellet of the noble metal rhodium are displayed here.
Join our Newsletter
The phrase “noble metal” is frequently used to contrast with the term “base metal.” In contrast to most base metals, noble metals are resistant to oxidation and corrosion. They frequently are precious metals because of their apparent rarity. Gold, platinum, silver, rhodium, iridium, and palladium are among the examples.
Base metal is used to contrast with precious metals, or those with high economic worth, in numismatics and alchemy. The transformation of base metals into precious metals, especially coinage metals like silver and gold, has long been an aim of alchemists. Precious metals have a high luster and excellent electrical conductivity and are chemically less reactive than most elements. Gold and silver are the most well-known precious metals.
Although both have commercial use, their use in jewelry, coins, and fine art is more well-known. The platinum group metals, of which platinum is the most traded, are also considered to be precious metals. These include ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum.
A valve metal in electrochemistry is a metal that only allows current to flow in one direction.
Types of metals
Ferrous metals, which include iron, and non-ferrous metals, which do not, can be split into two major categories. The different types of metal are as follows:
- Carbon Steel
- Alloy Steel
- Stainless Steel
- Iron (Wrought or Cast)
While stronger than other types of metal, pure iron has significant drawbacks. Pure iron, for example, is not corrosion-resistant. Iron needs to be protected from corrosion with a lot of money and effort. However, because of its tremendous density, it is very heavy. Structures may be challenging to construct and maintain due to these limitations. These flaws are somewhat mitigated by adding carbon to iron. Up to a certain point, this iron and carbon mixture is referred to as carbon steel. Iron becomes considerably stronger and gains other fantastic qualities when carbon is added to it.
Without a doubt, this metal is the most common in the contemporary world. By definition, steel is just carbon and iron (the element). Although this ratio can vary slightly, it is typically 99 percent iron and 1 percent carbon. Over 1.8 billion tons of steel were manufactured globally in 2017. (half of which are in China). An African elephant typically weighs 5 tons. Elephants stacked on top of one another to create an absurd moon bridge (which is not achievable) would still not weigh as much as the steel produced each year.
Read more: Understanding the iron ore smelting process
Good carbon and iron make up the fundamental components of steel, while other elements in very small amounts may also be added. Low, medium and high carbon steel can be divided into these three broad categories. Harder and more robust things have more carbon. Cheaper, softer, and simpler to make are the benefits of less carbon. The most typical applications for carbon steel are in construction, simple mechanical components, and a variety of tools.
Read more: Various methods of steelmaking process
Consider it to be genetically altered steel. By adding additional components to the mixture, alloy steel is created. As a result, the metal’s characteristics are altered, effectively making it configurable. Given that it is still typically relatively inexpensive to produce, this sort of metal is very popular. Manganese, vanadium, chromium, nickel, and tungsten are frequent alloying components for steel. Differently, each of these elements alters the metal’s characteristics.
For instance, alloy steel can strengthen high-performance gears, improve the pressure that pipelines can withstand, and make medical implants resistant to corrosion and wear. It is frequently referred to as the workhorse of the metal industry.
Although technically this is an alloy steel type, there are so many different varieties and so many of them that it normally receives its category. This particular steel is designed with corrosion resistance in mind. Essentially, this is steel that has been given a substantial amount of chromium. Rust is slowed by the ultra-thin barrier that the chromium forms as it corrodes. If you remove the barrier, another one will quickly grow in its place. Knives, tables, utensils, and other items that come into touch with food are all common in kitchens.
Recall that something can still rust even though it is made of stainless steel. Rust will be prevented by various compositions to varying degrees. When used near seawater, stainless steel needs to be extremely resistant to corrosion to prevent rot. But if they are not cleaned and maintained properly, all stainless-steel types will corrode.
Read more: Heat treatment process of steel
Iron (Wrought or Cast)
Iron is the sixth most common element in the universe and makes up around 5% of the Earth’s crust, making it a very common and well-liked sort of metal. Unalloyed iron is an unstable substance that readily creates iron oxide when it combines with airborne oxygen. It is frequently alloyed with other elements to create steel, which increases its stability.
Iron is used in cookware because it has a porous surface that inhibits sticking when coupled with hot oil. Cast iron is employed in the creation of wood stoves because of its very high melting point. Iron is a heavy metal that provides rigidity and dampens vibrations, which is why it is frequently used to make the frames and bases of large machinery.
To separate iron from its ores, a blast furnace is utilized. First-stage blast furnaces produce pig iron, which can be further refined to produce pure iron. Often, this iron is used to make steel and other alloys. Ferrous metals make up over 90% of the metals produced. It is the primary component of steel. But in addition to that, here are a few more applications for iron and a justification for their use:
Cookware – The porous surface will let the infusion of cooking oils produce a naturally non-stick surface.
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.
Read more: Raw materials used in making Iron and steel
Bauxite is the primary source of aluminum. It is sturdy, lightweight, and useful. The most common metal on Earth, its use has permeated applications all over the world. This is due to its qualities, including sturdiness, lightness, resistance to corrosion, electrical conductivity, and capacity to form alloys with the majority of metals. Additionally, it is non-magnetic and simple to process.
This is a very contemporary metal in the realm of materials. Since its invention in 1825, aluminum has served as the cornerstone for some truly remarkable achievements. For instance, this metal is largely responsible for flight and getting a man to the moon due to its incredible strength-to-weight ratio. It’s perfect for soda cans because it doesn’t rust and is easily formed (malleable). The most significant feature is that it can be fashioned into a really thin sheet that may be used to BBQ freshly caught fish to absolute moistness.
Despite having a little more difficult manufacturing process than some of the other metals, aluminum is a very popular metal. It is the most prevalent non-ferrous (devoid of iron) metal in the world. It will oxidize even though it doesn’t rust. Iron is the only metal that by definition “rusts.” When aluminum comes into touch with salt, it will corrode. It won’t corrode, though, when it comes in contact with water. Because of this, aluminum is incredibly beneficial for creating items like freshwater boats.
Read more: Understanding hardness of a material
Magnesium is a unique metal. It weighs about two-thirds as much as aluminum but is just as strong. Because of this, it’s getting more and more typical. This is most frequently seen as an alloy. The result is a hybrid material with particular qualities that was created by combining it with other metals and elements. It may also be simpler to use in production procedures as a result.
The automobile sector is one of the most common uses for magnesium. When it comes to high-strength weight reduction, magnesium is thought to be an improvement over aluminum, and it isn’t significantly more expensive. Magnesium can be found in the transmission cases, engine blocks, and wheel rims of performance vehicles. Magnesium does have drawbacks, though. It will corrode more quickly than aluminum. For instance, it will rust when exposed to water, unlike aluminum.
Overall, it costs nearly twice as much as aluminum, although it can be worked with more quickly in manufacturing. Magnesium burns extremely hot and is highly flammable. To avoid explosions, metal chips, filings, and powder need to be disposed of carefully.
Read more: Understanding compressive strength
Copper and its alloys are essential when discussing various metal types. Because it is simple to form, it has a lengthy history. It still plays a significant role in the industry today. It doesn’t exist in its purest form in nature. Smelting and extraction from ore are therefore required.
All metals are effective conductors, but copper stands out above the rest. It is used as a conductor in electrical circuits because of its strong electrical conductivity. The only metal with a higher conductivity is silver. Additionally, it has superb heat conductivity. Due to this, copper is a common material for cooking utensils.
Another vintage metal is copper. Today, you can get it frequently as an alloy (more on that later) or in a fairly pure state. Electronics, water pipes, and enormous liberty monuments are examples of common applications. A patina, or oxidized layer, will develop on copper, which will stop further corrosion. In essence, it will turn green and corroding will halt. This extends its lifespan to centuries.
The Statue of Liberty is composed of copper, and an oxide layer called a patina gives it a greenish-blue appearance.
Read more: Understanding malleability
In reality, brass is a copper and zinc alloy. The resulting yellow metal is quite beneficial for several factors. It is extremely popular for decorating because of its goldish hue. This metal is frequently used as handles and knobs on antique furniture. Depending on the desired electrical and mechanical qualities of the metal, different amounts of each metal may be used. It also has traces of manganese, lead, and other metallic components like aluminum.
For low friction uses including locks, bearings, plumbing, musical instruments, tools, and fittings, brass is a wonderful choice. It is essential to keep sparks from forming and to allow use in combustible surroundings in inherently safe applications.
It may also be pounded out and shaped because it is quite pliable. 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 brass tools are excellent for use in environments where flammable gases, liquids, or powders may be present.
Read more: Different types of sheet metals work tools
Another copper alloy is bronze. Bronze, however, contains tin rather than zinc. Its characteristics and appropriateness for a certain application may be enhanced by the addition of additional elements including phosphorus, manganese, silicon, and aluminum.
Brittle, hard, and well-resistant to wear and tear is bronze. Additionally, it resists corrosion and has superior thermal and electrical conductivity. Mirrors and reflectors are made using bronze as a raw material. For electrical connectors, it is employed. It is used in submerged parts and ship fittings due to its corrosion resistance.
Bronze is distinctive and has a significant historical significance (such as in the Bronze Age). It is frequently observed in large church bells. Due to its strength and toughness, bronze doesn’t bend or shatter when rung like other metals do. It sounds better as well. Modern applications include guitar strings, springs, bearings, and works of art. The earliest alloy created by humans was bronze.
Zinc is a widely used metal that has many applications in both the industrial and medical fields. Zinc is a very popular metal that is utilized 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 aid in preventing corrosion. Die castings made of zinc are also produced for the automotive, hardware, and electrical industries.
Zinc is used in marine applications to provide cathodic protection against corrosion of other metals due to its low electrochemical potential. Tanks, pipelines, and valves may all be protected with sacrificial zinc anodes. The usefulness of this metal makes it intriguing. It has a rather low melting point on its own, which makes casting 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.
Given its strength and lightweight, titanium is a crucial engineering metal. Additionally, even at 480 degrees Celsius, it possesses remarkable thermal stability. These characteristics make it useful in the aerospace sector. This metal can be used for equipment for the military. Medical applications also use titanium because it resists corrosion. The chemical and sporting goods industries both employ 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.
Because titanium is biocompatible, your body won’t rebel against it and reject it. Titanium is a common material for medical implants. It has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal. As a result, it has tremendous value for everything that flies. Metal cutting tools are coated with titanium nitride, an incredibly hard and low-friction material created when titanium reacts with nitrogen in a high-energy vacuum. Titanium does not occur naturally by itself. It is consistently joined to another element.
Read more: Understanding hardness of a material
Of all the pure metals, tungsten has the highest melting point and tensile strength. It is therefore quite practical. About half of all tungsten is used to create tungsten carbide. This substance is extremely hard and is used to make abrasives, heavy machinery, and cutting tools for mining and metallurgy. High-temperature superalloys and titanium may both be easily cut with it.
The Swedish term “tungsten,” which means “heavy stone,” is where the word “tungsten” originates. Its density is around 1.7 times that of lead. Another prominent alloying ingredient is tungsten. Due to its high melting point, it is frequently alloyed with other elements to create items like rocket nozzles, which must be able to withstand extremely high temperatures.
Nickel is a very prevalent element that is utilized everywhere. It is most frequently used to produce stainless steel, which increases the metal’s tensile strength and corrosion resistance. In actuality, 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. In German legend from the Middle Ages, nickel got its name. Although nickel ore resembles copper ore, the old miners blamed a naughty sprite by the name of Nickel when they couldn’t extract copper from it.
For many years, this metal has been used to create blue paint and dye pigment. Today, it’s mostly utilized to create high-strength, wear-resistant steel alloys. Rarely is cobalt mined independently; rather, it is a by-product of the manufacture of copper and nickel.
Read more: Understanding fiber reinforced plastic
Tin is very pliable and flexible. It is a component of alloys that are used to create items like bronze (1/8 tin and 7/8 copper). Pewter also uses it as its main component (85-99 percent). A “tin cry” is a sound that is made when you bend a tin bar. This sound is the crystal structure rebuilding itself, and it produces a twanging sound (called twinning).
In addition to being extremely dense and heavy, lead is also highly soft and flexible. Additionally, it has a very low melting point. Lead is a corrosion-resistant metal that is very machinable. Some use-cases include piping and painting.
To prevent knocking, gasoline once contained lead. It was later determined that this lead’s byproduct was the cause of major health issues. Ammunition, automobile batteries, radiation shielding, lifting weights, cable sheathing, etc. still frequently include lead. It was discovered that lead is truly quite poisonous material in the 1800s. Because of this, although it wasn’t that long ago, it was still present in items like paints and bullets, but it is less frequent today. Lead is a neurotoxin that, among other things, can harm the brain and lead to behavioral issues.
Despite this, it is still useful in today’s world. It works well as a radiation shield, for instance. To make copper alloys simpler to cut, it is periodically added to them. Bearing performance is frequently enhanced by the use of copper-lead mixtures.
In a scientific sense, silicon is a metalloid. It, therefore, possesses both metallic and non-metallic characteristics. For instance, it resembles a metal. It has a high melting point and is solid, glossy, flexible, and solid. It is a terrible conductor of electricity, though. This contributes to its lack of full metal status.
Even so, metals frequently include this element. It can significantly alter the metal’s characteristics when used as an alloy. For instance, metal is easier to weld when silicon is added.
Read more: Understanding creep in a material
After carbon and possibly diamond, chromium is the hardest element on a physical level. Typically, it is utilized as an alloy to increase the strength of other metals. The metal has a very high melting point of around 2000 degrees Celsius. Chromium can be used to enhance the surface finishing of other metals and has a distinctive appearance.
Lithium belongs to the metal alkali group or the soft metal category. It looks appealing because of its silvery-white shine. Glass and ceramic materials are strengthened with lithium.
Types of metals in the periodic table
The table below shows the various types of metals and their atomic numbers:
|S.No||Atomic Number||Symbol||Metal Elements|
Read more: Understanding Brittleness of materials
What is Metal?
A metal is a substance that exhibits a shiny appearance when freshly processed, polished, or shattered, and conducts electricity and heat rather well. Usually, metals are ductile or malleable. Metal can be a chemical element like iron, an alloy like stainless steel, a molecular complex like polymeric sulfur nitride, or any combination of these.
What are the Types of Metal?
Ferrous metals, which include iron, and non-ferrous metals, which do not, can be split into two major categories.
Ferrous metals. Pure iron is too soft and ductile to be much used as an engineering material.
What are the 10 examples of metals?
Aluminum, copper, iron, tin, gold, lead, silver, titanium, uranium, and zinc are a few examples of metals. Known alloys include steel and bronze. Metallurgy is the name for the study of metals.
What are the four groups of metals?
These metals can also be divided into basic metals, transition metals, alkaline earth metals, and alkali metals.
What are the properties of metals?
Properties of Metals
- Thin sheets of metal can be hammered out. It indicates that they have the quality of malleability.
- Metals can bend easily.
- Metals are efficient heat and electrical conductors.
- Metals have a glossy appearance because they are lustrous.
- The tensile strength of metals is high.
- Metals have a resonant sound.
- Metals are brittle.
What is the characteristic of metals?
Metals are lustrous, malleable, ductile, and effective heat- and electricity conductors. Other characteristics are: Except for mercury, which is a liquid at ambient temperature, metals are solids at that temperature (Gallium is liquid on hot days).
How do you identify a metal?
A metal object can be identified using a variety of field identification techniques. The surface appearance, spark tests, chip tests, the magnet test, and occasionally a hardness test are a few typical techniques. Sometimes metal can be recognized by looking at its surface.
How is metal formed?
All of the metals that we discover on Earth have a billion-year history. Simple hydrogen and helium atoms combined to form heavier elements inside the scorching heat of the stars.
What are the uses of metals in our life?
List the 10 ways that metals are used in daily life.
- Silver, platinum, and gold are used to make jewelry and other ornamentation.
- Metals like iron and steel can be used in construction.
- As utensils, iron, and aluminum are utilized.
- The mercury-filled thermometer aids in temperature monitoring.
- Aluminum is used to make the insulating wires.