Metals are solid substances obtained from the earth.
Metal uses are many and this is due to their natural properties of rigidity, ductility, tensile strength, etc.
They have high atomic weights and numbers in the periodic table.
Their oxides are alkaline in nature so they can resist acids.
Metals are very strong, durable and highly resistant to natural wear and tear.
Hence they have been used widely by man since ancient ages.
In the past, these metals were profoundly used for cooking, farming tools, weapons (bow, arrows, swords) and also in locomotive wagons.
But with growth in technology, the horizons of their use has widened enormously.
Currently, almost any object produced by use of technology uses metals in one or other form.
Modern man has also learned how to use the combination of metals, i.e., alloys for his benefit.
But which properties make these metals are so useful?
There few desired properties like
a) Highly resistance to heat.
b) Ability to contract at low temperature and expand at high temperature respectively. (thermocouple)
c) Good electrical conductivity.
d) Resistant to acids and other harsh chemicals
e) Highly inert to most substances and liquids.
Metal Uses in Daily life
1. In electronics: Electronics are the equipment which primarily rely on electricity to function. We use many electronics like TV, mobiles, fridges etc. in daily life. These electronics use metals in the body for different purposes. But one of the key purposes is to facilitate electricity transfer. Since are metals are good conductors, metals like copper, lead are widely used. Perhaps without metals, electronics would not have been progressed so much. Thermostats provide an option to switch on and off automatically in refrigerators and air conditioners.
2. In medicine: Metals are available as micro-elements in our body. They are needed for conduction of nerve impulses, to carry oxygen by blood, to facilitate enzyme reactions and more. So metals are used in medicine to cure any micronutrient metal deficiency diseases in humans and animals. Ex. iron is a part of hemoglobin a biomolecule. Hence it is used as ferrous sulfate to cure some forms of anemia.
Similarly, any metals constitute micro-essentials called “trace elements” in the body. They are part of a few enzymes and co-enzymes or in the form of electrolytes. They are present in very trace quantities in both plants and animals. The examples include Sodium (Na), potassium (K), Magnesium (Mg), Ni, Cu, Co, etc.
Also, many tools used in medicine like scalpels, scissors, needles, surgical blades are made of metals. They are used widely due to their toughness and ability to be sterilized at high temperatures.
3. In building construction: Metals like iron and steel are widely used in building and home constructions. Their strength and ability to withstand heavy weights make them preferred in construction. They are commonly used in reinforced concrete roofing, pillars, foundations, fencing etc.
4. In jewelry and clothing: Metals like Gold, silver, platinum, copper are widely used in jewelry. These metals are symbolic of financial status and hence very expensive.
Metals like copper, gold and silver have been used in making of cloth. They impart lusture, strength and other properties to the cloth. Such clothes are quite expenisve and durable.
5. In machinery & automobiles: Many machines and automobiles are made of metals extensively. Metals which can withstand high temperature and pressure during work are preferred. The commonly used metal is Iron, steel, aluminum etc. so cranes, mills, satellites. The machines and automobiles include road vehicles, railways, airplanes, rockets etc.
Besides these, metals are the only sought materials to store and transport gasses under pressure. Cylinders are tanks to store metals are exclusively made of metal to store and also safely dispense the gas when needed.
6. In farming. Farming requires many metal tools for tilling the soil, cutting, planting the seeds, etc. So most of the farming equipment are made of metals like iron, steel, etc. They can be used in both wet and dry conditions as required in agriculture.
7. In cooking: Utensils are best made from metals like steel, aluminum, and copper. Stoves, furnaces, Bowels, troughs, spoons, knives used in the kitchen are made from metal. They are so much preferred as they can withstand temperature and also used for wet and dry purposes.
9. Security systems: Metals play an important role in security systems.
Metals are used in making locks, lockers, safes, cupboards to store valuable items.
They are used to prevent theft or any misplacement.
10. Bullion market: Metals play a vital role in the economy. So there are many people who invest in metal stocks and bullion markets to make fortunes. Since they are evergreen and always in demand, they are considered as some of the best and safe options for investors.
Even many countries’ economy depends on mineral exports of metals.
Besides above, tungsten is a metal used in electric bulbs and tubes to generate stable light. It is preferred over other metals as it can withstand high temperature caused due to resistance to electricity. Similarly, mercury which is a liquid at room temperature is used in thermometers to record the daily temperatures. Its ability to contract and expand with a small variation in temperatures makes it preferable. Due to so many common uses of metals, there is a separate division of science and technology as metallurgy to explore better metal combinations and also uses.