Metallic materials

Metals are known as the class of materials with some unique properties such as shiny surface, good electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and malleability. Malleability means metals can be deformed and shaped upon application of mechanical forces (e.g. hammering) without cracking. The origin of these amazing properties is the atomic and electronic structures of metals (which is beyond the scope of this post and will be discussed in future posts). In simple words, the existence of free electron in the outer electron shells of metals enable them to conduct the heat or electricity. Such free electrons also contribute to high optical reflectivity (i.e. shiny surface) of metals.

The best known example of metallic materials is iron which has been in use for millennium for variety of construction purposes in different forms and shapes. Gold and silver are the other prominent metallic element which mainly find application for jewellery and decorative purposes. In materials science, the sub-category which deals with extraction, analysis, fabrication and characterization of metals are known as Metallurgy. In practice the pure metals are less being used rather than they are being utilized either as alloy, composites or compounds. The alloy is being made by solid solution formation, while the composite can be made by physical mixture of two or more metals and non-metals.

Metals are generally categorized into four groups:

  • Base Metals
  • Noble Metals
  • Heavy Metals
  • Ferrous Metals

Different class of metals will be described in more details in upcoming posts.

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