Metals are everywhere! They even make up the vast majority of the periodic table – it’s only elements on the far right that are non metals.
The ones in the middle of the table are called the “transition metals”.
Properties Of Metals (especially the transition metals)
- They are strong
- They are good conductors of electricity
- They are good conductors of heat
- They are malleable (i.e. can be bent or hammered into different shapes)
Their strength and malleability makes them good for building structures like bridges and for building car bonnets etc. Their conducting of electricity means they make good electrical wires and their conducting of heat means they are good for making saucepans etc.
Some Useful Metals
It’s a great conductor of electricity and as it is malleable it can be drawn out into wires. It’s hard and strong but can be bent and doesn’t react with water (it’s lower than hydrogen in the reactivity series). This means it can be used to make pipes and tanks.
This is low density and resistant to corrosion. Pure aluminium itself isn’t super strong – but it can form hard, strong alloys. The properties of aluminium have made it a useful metal for airplane construction.
Again this is low density and resistant to corrosion. It is very strong and not super bendy. As such it can be used for things like hip replacements.
Drawbacks of Metals
Often they can corrode when exposed to air and water which means they lose their strength and hardness. Painting can help prevent this.
They can also get “metal fatigue” when strains are repeatedly put on them over time. They may then break…not what you want in an airplane etc!