There are different types of metals based on physical and chemical properties. They are the hardest elements which are found on the earth.
Most of the metals are solids in nature except for mercury which shows liquid-like motion. They are bendable into different shapes and have many uses in human life.
They have special properties unlike other elements in the periodic table.
When oxidized they are alkaline in nature. They react with acids and even get rusted when exposed to air for a long time.
They are also present in minute quantities in living beings.
Different types of metals and their uses
Based on properties, metals can be differentiated as
- Ferrous metals.
- Non-ferrous metals.
- Noble metals.
- Heavy metals.
- Metal alloy
Ferrous metals: As the name indicates these are the metal combination of Iron with carbon. Since it has various varieties and large scale use, it is categorized as ferrous metals. The ferrous metal is very hard and can be made into a different shape.
The strength is very high such that it is used in making heavy machinery and equipment. Even it can withstand heavy weights and harsh environmental conditions. They undergo corrosion with time and can melt at very high temperatures.
These metals are good conductors of heat and also electricity. Ex: iron, steel.
Non-Ferrous metals: These are the metals which are used instead of iron for machinery and other equipment. They are not so heavy as ferrous metals. And even they are less corrosive and softer than them. They need less pressure to mold into any form.
They are in high demand these days due to above advantages. Ex; Aluminum, lead, copper.
Like ferrous metals, they are also good conductors of heat and electricity.
Noble metals: Like noble gasses, these metals are less reactive. Of course, they react in liquid or powder forms. But in general, they do not corrode and rust on exposure to air. They are soft and can be easily molded into different forms. They are quite expensive due to above properties and are used in jewelry, coin making etc. Ex; Gold, platinum, silver.
They are the good conductors of heat and electricity. Maybe they are even better than other metals in this regard.
They are also highly malleable. I.e. they can be beaten into a very fine sheet. Gold of 1gm can be beaten into a sheet of 1-meter square. Gold foil was used by Rutherford to study the atomic structure.
Heavy metals: These are the metals with high atomic weight and high density. But they can be less stronger than iron and other metals. They are not widely present in nature like other above metals. But they can be accumulated. Even they are toxic to human health when taken internally. Ex: Arsenic, cadmium, lead.
Metals we generally think are hard substances and can be molded to shapes but not all of them are so. The heavy metals mentioned above do not follow this rule. Also, metals are good conductors of heat and electricity. Interestingly not all do so. Mercury is a bad conductor of heat while lead is a bad conductor of electricity.
Metals have many uses in industry, agriculture and even in the health sector. They are even part of few biomolecules in plants and animals.
Metal alloys: These are metals which are made of combination of metals. They are alloyed (mixed) to get desired properties like greater strength, durability and also resistance to corrosion. Also these metals alloys are used to avoid or resist heat generation. For example in large gun cannons. Since during firing, they get hot, these alloys are made so that they do not get heated so fast like the traditional metals.
For complete detail read Uses of metals.