Metal

We have heard of various types of materials around us. Depending on the properties of the material, they are classified into various types. Some materials are naturally occurring, and some are man-made. This article lets us know about the naturally occurring strong and conductive materials.

Yes, we are learning about metals!! We will also get familiar with the strongest metal in the world.

Metal is a type of material that is malleable and ductile in nature. Metals are good conductors of heat and electricity too. They are naturally occurring minerals or substances that are lustrous in nature. We can easily observe that they can reflect light when light falls on them and hence they are shiny in appearance.

Metals are the minerals found in the earth’s crust in the form of mineral ores. Some of the metals that are widely available as earth’s resources are:

  • Aluminum
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

What Makes Metal Strong?

Some properties of the metal contribute to the strength of the metal. Depending on the toughness, metals are used in various sectors like construction, medicine, clothing, manufacturing, automobiles, electronics and more.

Strength of the metals is determined by various properties like:

  • Tensile Strength
  • Compressive Strength
  • Yield strength
  • Impact Strength

Tensile strength: Tensile stress or strength is the capacity of the material to resist when an external force or pressure is applied.

Compressive Strength: It is the ability of a material to withstand when being squeezed together.

Yield strength: It is the ability of a material to withstand bending and avoid permanent deformation. It determines the elastic limit of a given material.

Impact Strength: It is the ability of a material to withstand a blow without fracturing or shattering.

When all these characteristics are imparted in the metal, it makes it strong and tough. Below listed are some of the strongest metals found in the earth’s crust.

Top Ten Strong Metals

When the metals have lightly packed molecular structure, it is referred to as flexible metal. Metals that have tightly packed molecules contribute to hard metals. When the metal has less space in the molecular structure, more is the strength of the metal to withstand force. The top ten strongest metals in the world are:

  1. Tungsten
  2. Chromium
  3. Titanium
  4. Gadolinium
  5. Iron
  6. Vanadium
  7. Lutetium
  8. Zirconium
  9. Osmium
  10. Tantalum

Tungsten

The name tungsten means heavy stone. As the name indicates, it is the strongest metal in the universe. Tungsten is one of the rare metals identified in the year 1781.

Tungsten metal appears in grey-white colour and is shiny in nature. It has the highest melting point, and hence it is used in the manufacturing of electric bulbs, X-ray tubes, and radiation shields. Tungsten is combined with steel and other metals to produce stronger alloys.

It is abundantly found in countries like Russia, Portugal, China and Great Britain.

Main ores of Tungsten are wolframite and scheelite.

Chromium

Tungsten metal appears in a steely-grey colour and is shiny in nature. It is used in the manufacturing of stainless steel alloy due to its tough and sturdy property. It is corrosion resistant and can be used in all weather conditions. The name chromium means colour, the deep colour feature of the metal is its outstanding characteristic.

It is a vital component in humans for the production of insulin, sugar, and lipid metabolism. Meat, broccoli, wheat germ, mushrooms are the source of chromium.

Titanium

Titanium is one of the abundantly found metals that is silver-coloured. It was discovered in 1790. It has five naturally occurring stable isotopes. It is a transition metal with low density and high strength. It is corrosion resistant and has a high strength to weight ratio. It is found in almost all living things and water bodies like rock and soil. The use of Titanium is for making strong and lightweight alloys for Aerospace.

Gadolinium

Gadolinium is a metal that easily undergoes oxidation reaction instantaneously when in contact with moisture in air or oxygen. Hence, it forms a black coating on the metal. When the oxidation layer is removed, it is silvery-white in colour. It has a high tensile strength of 430 x 106 Pa. It is a ductile rare-earth element discovered in the year 1880.

Iron

The most common and widely used metal in the world is iron. Steel alloy is manufactured using iron. It has a melting point of 1538°C and is one of the hardest metals used in various sectors for different purposes. It can undergo corrosion easily when in contact with moisture in the air. It is one of the micro-nutrient found in the human body and plants. Red blood cells have iron in the form of haemoglobin.

Vanadium

Vanadium is a transition metal that is easily malleable. It is silvery grey in colour. It is not abundantly available in nature. Compounds of vanadium were discovered in the year 1801 in Mexico. Countries like China and Russia produce vanadium from steel smelter slag. It is used in the nuclear process for refining Uranium.

Lutetium

Lutetium is an expensive rare metal that is never obtained in pure form. It was discovered in the year 1907 by French scientist Georges Urbain. It is used in the process of polymerization, alkylation, and hydrogenation as a catalyst.

Zirconium

It is a transition metal that is greyish-gold in appearance. It was discovered in the year 1789. It is highly corrosive in nature and has a melting point of 1855°C. It is used in nuclear reactor tubing and also in the manufacturing of cosmetics, microwave filters, scissors, knives.

Osmium

The word Osmium is derived from the Greek word osme, which means smell. It has an attractive bluish-white colour in appearance. It is mixed with platinum to add toughness to the metal. It is also used as a catalyst and is used in manufacturing laboratory equipment.

Tantalum

Tantalum was discovered in the year 1802. It is used in manufacturing capacitors and high power resistors. It is also used in making high refractive index glass and camera lenses. It has a high melting point of 3020°C and is corrosion resistant.

Frequently Asked Questions on Metal

What is a metal?

Metal is a malleable, ductile, conductive, shiny natural substance found in the earth’s crust.

Which metal is added to platinum to give toughness?

Osmium.

Which is the strongest metal in the world?

Tungsten.

Which are the ores of Tungsten?

Wolframite and scheelite are the ores of tungsten.

What is the melting point of iron?

The melting point of iron is 1538°C.

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