The Most Popular Types Of Metals And Their Uses
Did you know that in 2019 the United States produced over 95 million tons of steel? Steel is one of many popular metals used in today’s society, whether for construction, technology, or even jewelry.
Metal is what quite literally keeps our civilization standing, and has been in use since the Bronze Age. Since then, technology and innovation have helped discover new grades and types of metal as well as different applications for them. From the first iron-framed buildings to the construction of the Burj Dubai, metal has been a part of the growth and development of modern-day civilization.
Continue reading to learn about the 3 most popular types of metals in today’s society and their uses.
Types of Metal
Aluminum’s popularity stems from it being lightweight, resistant to corrosion, and surprisingly durable. Aluminum was first made in 1825 and is a key component in some of the biggest technological accomplishments in human history.
Because of how lightweight and strong it is, aluminum a main resource used on the spacecraft that helped get humans to the Moon. It also doesn’t rust, making it a very useful material for dealing with the elements. Its only real drawback is that it does oxidize when exposed to salt, so it isn’t a good fit for use on an ocean-going vessel.
Aluminum’s used in a wide range of products. While most people will associate it with its use as soda cans or aluminum foil for cooking, it is widely used to make household appliances as well as aircraft. Aluminum is the ideal metal for making household appliances because of how light and strong it is. It’s also great for refrigeration because of its heat transferring properties that allow a quicker cooling process.
If you’re reading this article on an Apple laptop then it’s likely that the technology you’re using heavily uses aluminum. Apple uses aluminum for the enclosures of their laptops because they are lightweight and durable.
Iron is one of the most common metals on Earth. It has been widely used for centuries because of its strength and abundance.
One of the main uses for iron is for cooking appliances like skillets because the pores in iron allow it to prevent food from sticking to it. It also has a high melting point so it works great for use as a wood stove.
Due to the density and weight of iron, it is also widely used for manufacturing heavy machinery. Being so heavy and rigid prevents vibrations which makes it perfect for producing heavy equipment.
Bronze comes from combining copper and tin, and it is the first known alloy to have been made by humans. Though bronze may be brittle, it is great for resisting fatigue and will not bend or crack. It is also corrosion-resistant and a great conductor of both heat and electricity.
Some of the primary uses for bronze are bells, electrical connectors and fasteners, parts on oceangoing vessels, and reflectors. Bronze can mix with other metals to form alloys.
Some other applications for bronze include sculptures and statues. It is also used to make springs and bearings when manufacturing things with moving parts. Bronze is also the primary material for making guitar strings.
Steel is the most popular type of metal in use today. It is an iron alloy that is comprised of iron and carbon. The small amount of carbon helps rid the iron of impurities and residues that weaken it.
Iron is a strong and useful metal, but it has a lot of drawbacks. It is very dense and prone to corrosion and rust when exposed to water. These weaknesses make it hard to maintain, and an unreliable building material. Adding carbon to iron rids it of the drawbacks while also making it stronger. Because of the strength-to-weight ratio of steel, it is coveted for building parts for machinery as well as its use in constructing buildings.
There are over 3,500 grades of steel, so no matter what you are building there is a good fit for you. This is a big reason why steel is the most used metal in the world.
Here are some of the most popular types of steel on the market, and the best applications for each. For an even deeper dive on steel, check out our article on the different types of structural steel.
Stainless steel is widely used within the home because of its versatility and its resistance to corrosion. It is made by mixing iron, carbon, and chromium.
It is most commonly found to be used with kitchen sinks and kitchen knives. It is great for use with food because of its corrosion resistance properties.
Alloy steel comes from mixing iron with a number of other types of metal. The most common are tungsten, chromium, manganese, and nickel. Alloy steel is one of the most customizable metals available today.
Because it is so customizable, it is popular for use in building projects. You can customize it to suit whatever use you require, and is pretty inexpensive to produce.
Carbon steel comes from combining iron with carbon. It is customizable based on the amount of carbon that is added. Depending on that, it is sorted by category into high, medium, or low carbon steel.
More carbon that is used makes harder steel. On the flip side, using less carbon will provide less expensive steel that is easier to create. The most common use for carbon steel is as a building material because of its strength.
Tool steel is one of the hardest forms of metal on the planet. Tool steel is made by combining iron with cobalt, tungsten, or vanadium. Because of its hardness, it is great for use in manufacturing drills and cutting tools.
The most common use for tool steel is in construction. It is especially useful in the shipbuilding and automotive industries for machining purposes.
Are You Ready For Your Next Project?
Metal is the modern building material for tools, buildings, and even household appliances. No matter what your industry is or what your next project will be, metal will most likely be a key component.
Click here to get a quote on the different types of metal that you need for your next project.