You probably feel very confident in what you think a metal is. But do you know why it is that way and do you know where it is used in society today? Below are several links that will take you around the World Wide Web. The first three have great information about the basics that you definitely should look at, and then the rest are there just to give you some help. As you go through your search make sure that you take notes on your Why pick my Material Class? worksheet.

Picture of metal


  1. - A wonderful site from Deyes High School in Great Britian, makes metals easy.
  2. - A Web site from San Jose State, that will give you an overall picture of metals.
  3. - This Website from the University of Illinois has applications of metals.
  4. - Also from the University of Illinois, this will give you the cold hard science facts.
  5. - Click on basics of design engineering on the left, and then the purple materials in the center, if you scroll down you can look at information about many different materials.
  6. - A straight comparison of Aluminum and Steel
  7. - This also displays aluminum vs. different metals
  8. - Automotive choices for metals
  9. - Steel vs. other materials as the better choice for bikes
  10. - gives basic information about steel
  11. - Every property imaginable about aluminum.

It is also important now that you've learned about metals, to look at how their processed again. processing

Some basics

Aluminum-Some Aluminum alloys can be solution treated to increase their strength. Although aluminum alloy is approximately a third of the weight of steel, it is about three times the cost. Aluminum alloy is resistant to corrosion. Aluminum and it's alloys possess excellent thermal conductivity properties.

Copper is a metallic element that has unique properties which lead to its use in a great many fields, these properties are: high electrical and thermal conductivity and good corrosion resistance. Copper is easy to hot and cold work - which means like most metals it is easy to make into different shapes. However, machining copper can be difficult as it tends to adhere to the tool which results in scoring. Copper is not normally welded, so joining can be a problem unless by soldering.

Steels have been the most popular structural engineering metal for decades. The best part about steel is that it can be tailored for many different applications. Low carbon steels are usually referred to as mild steels. They are particularly useful for bending, forming and casehardening. They are useful for lightly stressed components and are available in several different forms including round, square, hexagonal and flat section. Ferritic stainless steels are mostly used for decorative trim. They are low in strength but have good ductility (easily bendable) and can be easily formed. These steels are mostly used for domestic and automotive trim, food processing and catering equipment, vehicle exhaust systems etc. Martensitic stainless steels are hardened and tempered to give tensile strengths in the range 550-1000 N/mm, which is quite high.. Typical applications include cutlery, surgical instruments, fasteners, valves, spindles and shafts. Martensitic steels are magnetic.

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