In physical form, metals can be defined as substances, which have a bright luster and are good conductors of heat and electricity. They have varying degrees of density, hardness, malleability and ductility. (Malleability concerns being able to be hammered and rolled out, while ductility has to do with being drawn out, as into wire.).
Metals have a certain melting point and will fuse with other metals to form alloys. At normal room temperature, all the metals exist in solid form, with the only exception of mercury.
Available in a variety of forms, shapes and structures, the different forms of metal differ in their properties and appearance. These different forms come in virtually all types of metals and primarily in steel, copper, zinc, aluminum, or stainless steel. Copper and stainless steel are the most corrosion resistant and also the most expensive. With peculiar coating, such as zinc coating on galvanized steel, other types of metals can be made more durable.Forms
Metals come in a variety of forms and shapes that differ in their appearance and properties. The different forms and shapes of metals have found to be suitable for different industrial uses and requirements. Some of the most common forms of metals are -
- Metal Sheet
- Metal Plate
- Metal Rod
- Metal Bar
- Metal Shot
- Metal Grain
- Metal Powder
- Clad Metal
- Bonded Metal
Some metals are found in the pure state, however, majority of them are found in combination with other elements. These metals are in the form of carbonates, sulphides, oxides, and silicates, generally mixed with rock and earthy materials. Some of the common metals that are found in combination in ores are zinc, iron, lead, copper, chromium, mercury and nickel.
Some metals are so rare that tons of ore must be treated to generate even a small amount of pure metal. Radium is one of these. The branch of science that deals with the recovery of metals from their ores is known as metallurgy.
Many metals, when in pure state, have properties, which are undesirable. Due to this, most of the metals commonly used today are either compounds or alloys. Some examples of alloys are gold coins, table silver, and aluminum pans. Pure iron is too soft to be of much value, so it is used most often as steel, which is a compound. There are a few metals that in tiny amounts, are essential to animal life. Among these are potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, and sodium.