A metal is a crystalline substance with a special gloss, malleability, and opacity. It is characterized by high strength, excellent electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and ductility, and can be made into various shapes of profiles or parts, as well as various structural parts, through casting, pressure processing, welding, and other processes. Metals exist widely in nature and are widely used in life. They are very important and the most widely used substances in modern industry.

We are exposed to different metals every day. In this article, we will explore the types, uses, and properties of metals.

Steel

Steel is the largest material group in the field of metal cutting.

Steel can be unhardened or quenched and tempered (hardness up to 400HB).

Steel is an alloy of iron (Fe) as its main constituent. It is manufactured through a smelting process.

Unalloyed steels have a carbon content of less than 0.8%, only Fe, and no other alloying elements.

The carbon content of alloy steel is less than 1.7%, and alloying elements such as Ni, Cr, Mo, V, W, etc. are added.

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Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a kind of high alloy steel that can resist corrosion.

Stainless steel is an alloy material with a minimum of 11–12% chromium.

Stainless steel usually has a very low carbon content (as low as 0.01% Max).

The alloys are mainly Ni (nickel), Mo (molybdenum), and Ti (titanium).

A dense layer of Cr2O3 is formed on the steel surface, making it corrosion-resistant.

Stainless steel is widely used in the oil and gas, pipe fittings, flanges, precision parts processing, and pharmaceutical industries. 

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Aluminum

Aluminum and its alloys are well-known and widely used metallic materials. Aluminum is a silver-white light metal with low density, corrosion resistance, and oxidation resistance. The content of aluminum in the earth’s crust is second only to oxygen and silicon, ranking third. It is the most abundant metal element in the earth’s crust and is widely used. Aluminum has good ductility and plasticity can be processed into aluminum plates, aluminum tubes, aluminum foils, etc., and is widely used in indoor and outdoor decoration.

After adding magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc, silicon, and other elements to aluminum to form an aluminum alloy, its chemical properties have changed, which can not only maintain the original lightweight of aluminum but also significantly improve its mechanical properties.

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Iron

Iron belongs to ferrous metal, heavy metal, and common metal in the classification of metals. Pure iron is a bright silver-white metal with a density of 7.86g·cm³. It has a high melting and boiling point, good conductivity, and heat transfer, and can be attracted by magnets and magnetized.

Iron is one of the most widely distributed metals on earth, and it is abundant in the earth’s crust, accounting for about 5.1% of the mass of the earth’s crust. Humans have been using iron since 5000 BC, and modern civilization has been greatly influenced by iron.

At present, iron has been widely used in electric power, machinery, transportation, and other industries, and also plays an increasingly important role in meteorological, medical, military, and other fields.

Iron will undergo a solid phase transition during heating or cooling. When the content of impurity elements in iron is very low, it is pure iron.

Pure iron not only has a certain strength, but also has high toughness and good soft magnetic properties, and its electrical conductivity increases with the increase of purity.

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Copper

Copper is an incredibly versatile metal. Pure copper is a transitional element and a soft metal. The surface is red-orange with metallic luster when it is first cut, and the element is purple-red. Copper has good corrosion resistance, excellent thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity, hardness, flexibility, ductility, and unique effects after polishing. Copper is the most commonly used material in cables and electrical and electronic components, and copper can also be used as a building material as well as for making decorations.

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Titanium

Titanium is a very special metal. Titanium is very light in texture, but it is very tough and corrosion-resistant. It maintains its own color for life at room temperature. After electric current and chemical treatment, it will produce different colors. Titanium vs Stainless Steel, What is the Difference?

Titanium vs. Stainless Steel,Difference between Titanium and Stainless Steel

Magnesium

Magnesium is a silver-white light alkaline earth metal. Magnesium is widely distributed in nature and is also one of the essential elements of the human body. Magnesium is an extremely important non-ferrous metal that is lighter than aluminum and works well with other metals to form high-strength alloys. Nowadays, magnesium is the third-largest metal engineering material after steel and aluminum, and it is widely used. In the field of interior decoration, there are also many new types of magnesium decorative materials such as sanding boards and glass magnesium boards.

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Chromium

Chromium is a steel-gray metal, and the most common form of existence is as an alloying element in stainless steel to enhance its hardness of stainless steel. Chrome plating processes are generally divided into three types: decorative plating, hard chrome plating, and black chrome plating. Decorative chrome plating is usually applied as the outermost layer on top of the nickel layer, and the coating has a delicate mirror-like polishing effect. Indoors, decorative chrome plating is applied to faucets, utensils, furniture, etc.

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Brass

Copper alloys with zinc as the main additive element have a beautiful yellow color and are collectively referred to as brass.

Brass is an alloy composed of copper and zinc. Brass composed of copper and zinc is called ordinary brass. If it is a variety of alloys composed of two or more elements, it is called special brass.

A multi-component alloy composed of other alloying elements added to ordinary brass is called brass. The elements often added to brass are lead, tin, aluminum, etc., which can be called lead brass, tin brass, and aluminum brass accordingly. The purpose of adding alloying elements. Mainly to improve the tensile strength and improve the manufacturability.

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Bronze

Bronze has appeared all over the world and is a symbol of world civilization. The earliest bronzes appeared 6,000 years ago in the ancient Babylonian valley.

Copper is red and tin is silver. The proportion of copper and tin in bronzes is different, and the color of cast bronzes will also be different. Under different conditions, the color of rust spots on bronzes is not nearly the same. In addition to our common turquoise, there are also some bronzes that appear black.

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Zinc

Zinc is a silvery-white and slightly blue metal, chemical symbol Zn, atomic number 30, relative atomic mass 65, melting point 419.5 ℃, with a strong metallic luster, relative density 7.0, melting point 230 ℃, with good physical ductility, chemical stability, and corrosion resistance, widely used in modern defense, industry and other fields.

Zinc alloys are used in automobile manufacturing and the machinery industry. Zinc has suitable mechanical properties. The strength and hardness of zinc itself are not high, but after adding alloying elements such as aluminum and copper, its strength and hardness are greatly improved, just like the emergence of zinc-copper-titanium alloys, and its comprehensive mechanical properties have approached or reached aluminum alloy, brass, gray iron’s level, and its creep resistance has also been greatly improved. Therefore, the zinc-copper-titanium alloy has been widely used in hardware production.

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Lead

Lead is a gray-blue soft heavy metal, soluble in nitric acid and hydrochloric acid, with good ductility and corrosion resistance, and can easily be made into alloys with other metals with excellent performance. Metal lead and its compounds are widely used in machinery manufacturing, shipbuilding, radiation protection, and other industries.

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Tungsten

The physical characteristics of tungsten are very strong, especially the melting point is very high, which is the highest of all unalloyed metals.

Tungsten carbides have high hardness, wear resistance, and refractoriness. Aside from lighting, tungsten has so many uses. Tungsten and other alloys of molten metals (tantalum, niobium, molybdenum, rhenium) are used as thermally strong materials in aerospace and rocket technology, and in other sectors that require high thermal strength for machine parts, engines, and some instruments.

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Nickel

Nickel element symbol Ni, is a silver-white metal, atomic number 28, density 8.9g/cm3, melting point 1453 ℃, boiling point 2732 ℃.

Nickel has good mechanical strength and ductility, is refractory to high temperatures, and is not easily oxidized in the air. 

Nickel is an austenite-forming element. Adding nickel to stainless steel can promote the formation of austenite crystal structure, thereby improving the plasticity, weldability, and toughness of stainless steel. Two-thirds of the world’s nickel is used in the stainless steel industry. It is also widely used in alloy steel, electroplating, electronic batteries, and aerospace.

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Cobalt

Cobalt is a silver-gray shiny metal with ductility and ferromagnetism, as well as good high-temperature resistance, corrosion resistance, and magnetic properties. It is widely used in aerospace, machinery manufacturing, electrical and electronics, chemistry, ceramics, and other industrial fields. At the same time, cobalt is also one of the important raw materials for the manufacture of superalloys, cemented carbides, ceramic pigments, catalysts, and batteries.

Tin

Tin is a low melting point metal element with silvery-white luster. Mainly in the form of dioxide (cassiterite) and various sulfides (eg sulfur cassiterite).

From the Bronze Age to today’s high-tech age, the importance and scope of the application of tin have continued to emerge and expand, and it has gradually become an indispensable key rare metal for modern industry.

Tin has a low melting point, good extensibility, easy to form alloys with many metals, and has the characteristics of non-toxicity, corrosion resistance, and beautiful appearance, so tin and its alloys are widely used in industry and people’s daily life.

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Silicon 

Silicon is a non-metallic element, gray, metallic color, and high hardness. Metal silicon is also called crystalline silicon or industrial silicon.

Silicon metal is widely used in metallurgy, chemical industry, electronics, and other industries. In the metallurgical industry, it is mainly used as an additive for non-ferrous alloys.

When silicon is added to some non-ferrous metals, it can improve the strength, hardness, and wear resistance of the base metal, and sometimes enhance the casting performance and welding performance of the base metal.

The addition of silicon to the aluminum alloy can improve the hardness, stiffness, and strength of the alloy, and increase the oxidation resistance and corrosion resistance of the aluminum alloy. The aluminum-silicon alloy has high impact resistance and good casting performance. About 70% of the total production of industrial silicon is used to formulate aluminum alloys.

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Lithium

Lithium, a silver-white metal, is very light, the lightest of all metals. Lithium is used in the metallurgical industry. Adding a small amount of lithium (5/100,000) to copper can greatly improve its performance of copper: This is because lithium has active chemical properties and can react with harmful impurities in copper such as oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur, and act as a degassing agent. Adding a small amount of lithium to aluminum, magnesium and other metals can improve their robustness and acid and alkali resistance.

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Manganese

Manganese is a gray-white, hard, brittle, and shiny black metal. Manganese behaves physically like iron but is softer than iron.

Manganese is an indispensable raw material for the iron and steel industry. Manganese is a very strong reducing agent, it can absorb all the oxygen from the molten steel, so that there is no iron oxide in the steel, and it becomes a non-porous steel ingot. Secondly, manganese is also an excellent desulfurized, which can remove all sulfur in molten steel. Adding a small amount of manganese to steel can greatly improve the mechanical properties of steel, such as ductility, malleability, toughness, and wear resistance. Manganese steel, ferromanganese, various alloys of manganese and copper, aluminum, nickel, cobalt, etc., and manganese compounds are extremely useful in industry. Manganese steel, ferromanganese, various alloys of manganese and copper, aluminum, nickel, cobalt, etc., and manganese compounds are extremely useful in industry.

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Carbon Steel

Carbon steel is an iron-carbon alloy with a carbon content of less than 2.11%. Generally, it also contains a small amount of silicon, manganese, sulfur, and phosphorus. Generally, the higher the carbon content in carbon steel, the greater the hardness and the higher the strength, but the lower the plasticity. According to the carbon content, carbon steel can be divided into low carbon steel (WC ≤ 0.25%), medium carbon steel (WC0.25%-0.6%), and high carbon steel (WC>0.6%).

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Alloy Steel

On the basis of carbon steel, in order to improve the performance of the steel, one or several alloying elements are specially added to the steel during smelting to improve the strength, toughness, hardenability, weldability, and other properties of the steel. Commonly added alloying elements: Si, Mn, Cr, Ni, W, Mo, Co, V, Ti, B, etc.

Alloy steel is divided into low-alloy steel (alloying element less than 5%); medium-alloying steel (alloying element is 5%-10%); high-alloying steel (alloying element is greater than 10%). Generally speaking, the higher the alloy content, the better the performance of the steel and the higher the price.

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Thank you for reading.

With this metal list, you can determine the right metal for your project.

If you want to treat the metal before using it, let a professional do the job. YIJIN Hardware can provide you with different metal processing and handling solutions.

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