Around 80% of the elements on the periodic table are some form of metal.
That means that of all the substances we know, most of them come from some form of metal. These elemental metals become different types of metal we use for everything from building to self defense. Each type of metal has a specific use, though there is some crossover.
Let’s take a look at the different types of metal that exist and get used by us today.
Metals That Are Common
Everyone interacts with metals on a daily basis, from what we eat to what we play with and what we do for a living. Whether that interaction is direct or not, metals form the foundation of modern society and technology. Here are a few common metals you may have come into contact with.
This is not an exhaustive list as there are thousands of other types of metals, but this is a good list of common metal types that we interact with on a daily basis. These metals are used in construction, computers, modern appliances, cell phones, jewelry, and other common household items.
Types of Metal
When it comes to types of metal, they are often put into three categories. These categories help determine what they are used for, as well as how they are made. The fundamental distinguisher between metals is whether they have any iron in them.
- Ferrous metals
- Non-ferrous metals
Ferrous metal is one that contains iron or some form of iron component. Examples of this are steel and cast iron. Non-ferrous metals are those that do not contain any iron in them, such as aluminum and zinc. Alloys can be ferrous or non-ferrous, they are combinations of different metals.
Steel and Iron
To give you an example of how large and diverse the family of metals is, let’s take a look at some of the most recognizable types of metal. If you go to a metal supplier looking for something tough and durable, they are going to direct you towards steel.
If you are looking for something decorative and resilient, you may see cast iron. Iron is also used in cookware and other applications where it can excel. Iron isn’t good for building and construction because it is too soft for those applications.
Steel comes from iron, and it finds a name based on the carbon content it has. Steel is one of the strongest substances that we work with on a regular basis. It can hold up tremendous weight and comes in a wide variety of options, such as hot rolled steel.
Learning About Metal
If you’re interested in learning about the types of metal that exist and what each one is used for, prepare to do serious research. It wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that metals have been a cornerstone of civilization since the beginning of the bronze age.
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