Metals are all around us, but do we think about how and why they are used? Some obvious reasons to use metal include their properties of strength and solidity. They also conduct heat and electricity. There are many types of metals, and they are used for different reasons.
This is one of the first metals used. You may have a cast-iron dutch oven or skillet that you cook with or perhaps you have a wrought-iron decorative railing on your home. It is a heavy metal that can be used in machinery.
Most common items made of metal are made of steel. This metal is made by adding a small amount of carbon to iron. The more carbon that is added, the stronger and harder the steel will become. The high carbon steel is often used for tools and in buildings. Manufacturers use custom metal fabrication to create all kinds of shapes and sizes of parts out of steel.
Stainless steel is an alloy that includes chromium, which helps to slow down the rusting process. Many household items, such as flatware and other kitchen utensils, are made with this alloy.
While pennies are made mostly of copper, there is something much larger that we don’t often associate with this metal – the Statue of Liberty. It doesn’t look coppery because of the oxidation that has occurred over the years. When oxygen interacts with copper, the metal turns a bluish-green. Other items made of copper include water pipes and electronic components.
This is a softer metal which is an alloy of zinc and carbon. You will often find tools and musical instruments made of brass because it is easier to form into a shape yet is durable.
This is a common element that is used with iron to create certain types of stainless steel. It is often used as a coating to create a polished-looking smooth surface.
Softer than brass, tin is often used in alloys to create other metals such as pewter and bronze. Perhaps you created a picture in tin when you were in grade school by pounding a nail along a line to create little points.
There are many types of metal being used in manufacturing various items. it’s good to know that people have found ways to create the types of metal needed for different things so we can have the variety of machines to help us in our everyday lives.