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14 Interesting Facts About Metal

Metals have been around for centuries, valued for their strength, durability, versatility, and electrical conductivity. Metal is used in industrial and architectural fabrication such as using sheet metal and other forms in building construction, bridges, tools, machinery, electronics, plumbing, HVAC, automobiles, aircraft, military equipment, and more. About 75% of all elements on the periodic table are metals.

  1. Iron is the most abundant metal on earth—and it also makes up much of the Earth’s core. The most common metal found in the Earth’s crust, however, is aluminum.
  1. Silver conducts electricity better than any other metal.
  1. Noble metals—such as precious metals silver, gold, and platinum— resist oxidation and corrosion in moist air.
  1. Alloys contain two or more elements mixed together, usually two metals or a metal and a non-metal.
  1. Mercury has the lowest melting point of all metals—and it’s the only metal that’s liquid at ordinary room temperature and pressure.
  1. At 3,400 degrees C, tungsten has the highest melting point of any metal in pure form. (Although carbon remains solid at higher temperatures, it changes to a gas rather than melting into a liquid).
  1. Iron is galvanized by dipping it into molten zinc. The galvanization process helps prevent rust.
  1. Up until the Middle Ages, there were only seven known metals: Bronze, iron, gold, copper, silver, lead, and mercury.
  1. Almost 69% of all steel—more than 80 million tons—is recycled in North America each year. That’s more than aluminum, paper, plastic and glass combined. Steel’s magnetic properties make it easy to separate from the solid waste stream into the recycling stream.
  1. Steel was first used for skyscrapers in 1883.
  1. The Eiffel Tower is about six inches taller in the summer than in the winter. Why? Because steel and iron expand when heated.
  1. Have you ever noticed how often brass doorknobs and handrails are used in public buildings? That’s because brass, a copper alloy, is naturally antibacterial. (But you should still wash your hands!)
  1. Explosion welding is a powerful process that can join nearly every kind of metal together, which most other welding methods cannot do.
  1. If two pieces of uncoated metal touch in space, they become permanently stuck together. It doesn’t happen on Earth because the atmosphere puts a thin layer of oxidation between the surfaces. The oxidized layer actually acts as a barrier, preventing adherence.
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