20 interesting facts about metal
Metals fabrication, in one form or another, has been around a very long time and although metal is used in enormous amounts in every aspect of our lives, nearly all of it is recyclable and can be used over and over again, making it an earth-friendly, climate-friendly and people-friendly product.
All that said, here are twenty fun facts about metal that you may be surprised to learn:1. Iron is the most abundant metal on earth—and it also makes up much of the Earth’s core. The most common metal found in the Earth’s crust, however, is aluminum.
2. Silver conducts electricity better than any other metal.
3. Noble metals—such as precious metals like silver, gold, and platinum—resist oxidation and corrosion in moist air.
4. Alloys contain two or more elements mixed together; usually two metals or a metal and a non-metal.
5. Mercury has the lowest melting point of all metals—and it’s the only metal that’s liquid at ordinary room temperature and pressure.
6. At 3,400 degrees C, tungsten has the highest melting point of any metal in pure form. (Although carbon remains solid at higher temperatures, it changes to a gas rather than melting into a liquid).
7. Iron is galvanized by dipping it into molten zinc. The galvanization process helps prevent rust.
8. Up until the Middle Ages, there were only seven known metals: bronze, iron, gold, copper, silver, lead and mercury.
9. Almost 69% of all steel—more than 80 million tons—is recycled in North America each year. That’s more than aluminum, paper, plastic and glass combined. Steel’s magnetic properties make it easy to separate from the solid waste stream into the recycling stream.
10. Steel was first used for skyscrapers in 1883.
11. The Eiffel Tower is about six inches taller in the summer than in the winter. Why? Because steel and iron expand when heated.
12. Have you ever noticed how often brass doorknobs and handrails are used in public buildings? That’s because brass, a copper alloy, is naturally antibacterial. (But you should still wash your hands!)
13. Explosion welding is a powerful process that can join nearly every kind of metal together, which most other welding methods cannot do.
14. If two pieces of uncoated metal touch in space, they become permanently stuck together. It doesn’t happen on Earth because the atmosphere puts a thin layer of oxidation between the surfaces. The oxidized layer actually acts as a barrier, preventing adherence.
15. Not all metals get along—certain combinations of metal create something called galvanic reaction, which causes one metal to sort of eat the other to death. One example—do not use galvanized and aluminum metals together (like zinc-coated fasteners through aluminum sheet) or you will see your aluminum sheets disappear over time.
16. Stainless steel does rust, particularly if exposed to salts and water.
17. It is estimated that it took nearly 74 hours to produce a single, Saxon-hardened sword, meaning it would take almost twenty years for ten smiths plus assistants to produce enough swords for five thousand soldiers.
18. Touching stainless steel will remove garlic and onion odor from your hands—good luck getting it out of your mouth!
19. Archaeologists believe that the earliest forms of metal welding date back to 3,500 B.C.
20. Sound travels fifteen times faster through steel than air.
Metal is everywhere you look and so common you do not even realize you see it.