Different metals and what they are commonly used for.

There are many different types of metals ranging from, iron, steel, tin, copper, nickel, zinc, aluminium, gold, platinum and silver.  Each metal can be used for multiple purposes such as decorative use like, jewellery making, ornaments or sculptures.  Then there are the metals that are used for much more practical things like kitchen utensils or Copper Pipe Fittings for radiators on a central heating system.  These small but important, practical pieces of copper can be easily obtained from a company such as watkinspowis.co.uk/products/copper-pipe-fittings-and-press-systems. Copper has a distinctive reddish-orange colour and is well known for its chemical properties and is perfect for use in thermal and electrical conductivity.

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A particularly clever metal is mercury which is used in a doctor’s thermometer to monitor temperature. Steel is what’s known as an iron alloy that is enriched with approximately 1% of carbon and is usually free of residues and other impurities that can sometimes be found in iron. On saying that, iron is probably the most useful metal because of its strength, there is plenty of it and it is fairly easy to work with. Iron is the metal that is refined into steel to make nuts and bolts and into stainless steel for cutlery. The metal that has the highest melting point at temperatures greater than 1650c is Tungsten and this is known as having the highest tensile strength. Unfortunately, because of its incredible strength Tungsten is commonly used to make bullets.

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The most expensive of the four main metals classified as precious, is Palladium, followed by gold, silver and then platinum. Palladium is incredibly rare but is commonly used in catalytic converters in cars and other vehicles.  Due to its rarity and high value these car parts are now being stolen from right underneath the cars they were fitted onto!  Another incredibly rare metal is Francium; this very unstable element only lasts for 22 minutes and actually has no practical use at all. Did you know that your mobile phone, DVD player and video game player had a metal in it called Tantalum?  This rare but practical use metal has a purity level of 99.9% and is a lustrous blue-grey colour. Other rare metals that not many know about are, Rhodium, iridium, and ruthenium, approximately one fifth as common as platinum. The most plentiful element on Earth is iron and this can be found on the planet’s surface and core.

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