A Detailed Guide on Metals: Steel and Iron and Stuff

Introduction

Industrial revolution throughout the world was possible because of the advanced use of the metals in the process of manufacturing. Metal has been a great company of human life for a very long time. But it gave us an extraordinary progress in the industrial and manufacturing industry by creating thousands of machines using different types of metals. Therefore, it played a vital role in the exponential growth of the human beings and brought us where we are living today. Today, we can see and find thousands of types of metals around us and each of them possesses special quality which can be used for the greater benefits of the human civilization. From your bed to the computer you are reading this article on are the blessings of the utilization of metals. You can find around ninety different types of metals these days. So, metal supply has become quite popular all around the world.

 

Types and Classification of Metals

As we said earlier, there are a huge number of metals available in nature. To classify them is not an easy task. Therefore, they are classified in different ways depending on some specific things as a determiner. Here we are providing some of the key types and classification of metals as follows:

 

Magnetic and Non-Magnetic Metals

Metals are differentiate on the basis of how they interact with magnets in a lot of places. You can easily divide metals into two specific categories as magnetic and non-magnetic metals following this process. Ferromagnetic (metals which contain iron) metals are attracted to magnets quite strongly. Paramagnetic metals will attract to magnets through a weaker interaction. But the diamagnetic one will hardly be attracted to magnets while performing this process. Rather they will show a very weak repulsion.

 

Classification by Iron Content

Classification by Iron content is the most common way to classify the metals all around the world. Metals containing iron are known as ferrous metal. Because of containing iron, these ferrous metals are attracted to magnets by imparting magnetic properties and they are prone to corrosion as well.

Metals which do not possess any iron portion are popularly known as non-ferrous metals. These type of metals won’t get attracted to magnets because they do not possess any magnetic property in them. There are hundreds of examples of this type including copper, zinc, aluminum, brass, and lead.

 

Classification by Atomic Structure

Periodic table is quite a common term and figure for the most of us. It can also help us classifying the types of metals. You can classify metals on the basis of their atomic structure which you can easily find on the periodic table. As we know from studying periodic table, metals which represent the same group have a tendency to react similarly with other elements of same quality. It happens because they possess the same amount of chemical properties and therefore you can classify them according to their atomic structure very easily. You can also name them in different ways like Alkaline or a transition metal.

 

Steel

Steel is one of the strongest metals of the world and one of the most popular and used as well. But pure iron is the strongest metal than all other types of metals. This is why it creates a desire for more into us. Pure iron is never resistant to any type of corrosion. For this reason, they are used in many important places and tasks. But in order to keep pure iron from corroding, one must spend a huge amount of money, time, and energy. Iron is quite heavy because of the high density it possesses. Therefore, these disadvantages can ruin your establishment work and structure and make them harder to build and manage.

But when you will add carbon to pure iron, then it will improve and alleviate those weaknesses and disadvantages to a specific extent. The mixture where carbon and iron are mixed in a specific manner following the limits is popularly known as carbon steel. Carbon steel is a great metal and it can be made only by adding carbon to iron. Because of adding carbon to iron, this carbon metals become much stronger and stable. It possess some other great characteristics as well which can beneficial for the human beings.

Like carbon in the iron, you can use other elements as well but you need to add a trace amount which won’t do any damage to the actual proportion of carbon and iron. Your trace amounts of other elements should be incorporated with their chemical properties. Now, let’s discuss about the types of steels and how the steel supply is being used all over the world.

 

Types and Uses of Steel

Because of excellent chemical properties which are quite beneficial for establishing building, steel is one of the greatest and most popular building materials of the world nowadays. All over the world there three thousand and five hundred grades of steel are available to use and utilize today. Some of the key characteristics of steel are that it has quite a tensile strength, different types of use, and an impressive high strength-to-weight ratio. Therefore, every unit mass of steel can get more strength in it. This is why even the steel or steel parts which are small in size are still usable because it still remains strong and powerful enough to do its duty.

In terms of durability, steel is one of the best in the business as well. They are actually known for their extreme durability. That expands the chances of a steel structure or establishment last longer than its other alternatives. It can also withstand and deliver some additional external factors as well which are better. The versatility of steel which is caused by its ductile nature is very much useful and it can be shaped into your required and desired forms and shapes even without compromising its chemical properties in it.

If you want to classify it by iron component, then steel can be classified into three categories, which are:

 

Low Carbon Steel

When only 0.25% of carbon is used in iron, then it can provide us low carbon steel which is also known as mild steel. Low carbon steel is used for tubing so that it can moderate the applications of pressure. In construction, two most common used materials are reinforcing bars and I-beams. These two materials are usually made from the low carbon steel. Any application of steel which demands a large amount of steel without any forming or bending can be a suitable usage of low carbon steel. You can take a ship’s hull as an example of low carbon steel.

 

Medium Carbon Steel

Medium carbon steel contains 0.25-0.60% of carbon in it. If you need ductility as well as high tensile strength for your structure of the establishment, then you can use the applications of medium carbon steel. You will find the applications of medium carbon steel in these following places: building and bridges, rails and wheels of railway, shafts and gearing, and steel beams. Even to use in pressure vessel, these steels are beneficial and recommendable. But because of its tendency to cold cracking, it contains cold gases and liquids. These are the features why people are interested in using and applying medium carbon steel in buildings and establishments all over the world these days.

 

High Carbon Steel

High carbon steel is the most popular steel among the industrial zone because it contains more than 0.6% of carbon in it. High carbon steel is harder, stronger and more powerful than the previous two we mentioned. It has a more brittle applications throughout the world. You can make chisels and cut tools using high carbon steel. Good resistance power and hardness are two of the key qualities high carbon steel possesses. They are even resistant to any type of material wear. High carbon steel can used in manufacturing and presses to do drill bits in industries very easily.

 

Although all three types of steels we mentioned above are popularly known as only carbon steels, but still they contain various components to alleviate certain properties of it. For example, they contain manganese to improve both the hardenability and tensile strength whereas they contain chromium to resist corrosion. Apart from three types of steels, there are one more type of steel available in the market. It is known by the name Alloy steels and it contains multiple chemical elements and components to enhance various properties of it. Metals like titanium, nickel, silicon, manganese, copper, and aluminum can be added in several proportions as well. There are two more types of alloy steels available which are:

 

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel mainly contains a huge amount of chromium. Therefore, it possesses two hundred times higher resistance to all types of corrosion than mild steel. This is why it is an ideal choice to manufacture kitchen utensils, dental equipment, surgical equipment, and piping. You don’t have to use any sort of coating in stainless steel because it is completely unnecessary. Stainless steel can provide you a metallic look wherever you want with the right surface to do so.

 

Tool Steel

Tool steels can be used for three different applications: making, cutting, and drilling tools. It is because of their higher level of hardness, people make them as their ideal choice for these type of applications. Tool steels contain vanadium, molybdenum, cobalt, and tungsten as the basic metals in it. Tool steel has some other sorts of applications too. It is that kind of metals which can also be found in manufacturing valves, wires, rails, pipes, and shafts. But it is primarily used in the packaging sector, construction, shipbuilding, and automotive.

 

Iron

You will certainly find a similarity among all the metals because all of them share some specific and similar mechanical components of materials. But when you will have a closer look on them, you will find that each and every one of them is different from each other and one metal will at least have a little edge over another in terms of mechanical properties. To extract iron from the ores of it, you will require a blast furnace. You can achieve pig iron from the first stage components of the blast furnace. If you further refine pig iron, then you will get pure iron from it. This pure iron often used in making steels and other steel and iron alloys. Almost ninety percent of the manufactured metals of the whole world is actually ferrous metals. So, the importance of iron in human life is impeccable.

 

Application of Iron

While selecting any metal for a specific and particular application, there are some facts which you should consider on the first place so that they can find the best option for them. You have to keep your focus on costs, melting points, ease of machining, available space, sufficient safety factor, thermal and electrical conductivity, density, and temperature coefficient, etc. Iron can be easily referred as the life-blood of the human civilization. According to the experts, five percent of this Earth’s crust is iron. Therefore, we can find and use this metal so easily and the availability of iron is global. But the pure iron is not a stable element because when it enters into the air it reacts with the oxygen available in the environment and form iron oxide at the very first opportunity. Steel plays a vital role in the application of iron because steel is a ferrous metal and it has a variety of applications throughout the world. Therefore, the true and exact potential of iron can’t be comprehended or determined with learning the application of steel first. So, if you can learn the proper utilization and application of both the steel and iron, you can earn a lot from metal supply by providing steel supply, aluminum supply, aluminum tube supply and other metal supply to various countries all over the world.

 

Aluminum

Aluminum is also one of the finest and popular metals of the world. Availability of this metal is pretty good and therefore this metal is used throughout the world like iron and steel. Aluminum is actually derived from the ore bauxite of it. Unlike iron and steel, aluminum is light, but yet strong and functional which is the main reason of its popularity. Actually, it is the most available and widespread metal of the world. Using aluminum is permitted in each and every corner of the world. Because of its permeated applications, people has a craze over this metal in case of designing and decorating their houses, offices, and chambers mostly.

Aluminum has a reputation of durability as well. But it has some other pretty interesting and appealing properties too including lightweight, electrical conductivity, corrosion resistance, and the ability to form alloys with other metals. As it doesn’t magnetize, so it has some special applications too as a replacement of iron because iron is magnetic. Aluminum is very easy to machine and that is another reason of its global popularity among the people. Though there are a huge difference in properties and nature with iron and steel, but still aluminum is a great and useful metal for the human civilization.

 

Applications of Aluminum

As a non-ferrous metal, aluminum is the most preferable one throughout the world. It has some important useful characteristics such as: light, silvery white color, soft, low density, malleable, highly resistant to corrosion, good conductor of both heat and electricity, and ductile. Because of these wide range of properties, applications of aluminum is quite vast. Aluminum is used in making high voltage power lines, cars, planes, bi-cycles, and roofing, light metal work, decoration, kitchen tools, windows and doors, and drinking cans. These are the most popular applications of aluminum all over the world.

 

Wrap Up

Apart from using the metals in its actual condition, people sometimes combine different metals with other materials or components to form alloys. Alloys can easily change the properties of a certain metal and make them capable to fulfill our particular needs. These type of metals and alloys can be used in several ways. They play an important and integral role in machinery, construction, transportation, telecommunications, and manufacturing industries. Without metals, human civilization would still be light years behind from this advanced world. Metals have become an integral part of human life all around the world. When you will think about the greatest structures of the last century like the Eiffel Tower, the Capitol, the Statue of Liberty, you must have to think about iron and the importance of it. So, the importance of metals in human civilization can’t be described in words and it has an impeccable effect in the progress of this advanced and modern world.