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Jaimie Donovan

The Use of Metals


1. Copper, gold and silver were used before any other metals because they are native elements, found in their native form, therefore easy to extract and use. They are also unreactive. 2. Copper is an unreactive, native metal found abundantly in its native form. It is easily extracted and, when heated easily shaped into various tools and other implements. This is why it was popularly used during the Copper Age of 9000-5000 BP. The Bronze Age followed and, due to the development of technology, bronze was produced from metal alloys, such as arsenic or tin bronzes. Following this was the Iron Age 3500-2000 BP, which marked the emergence of new technologies which allowed the exploitation of iron. Due to its higher reactivity, the technology needed to extract Iron is more advanced, thus explaining the use of Bronze and Cooper before Iron. 3. Bronze was used abundantly from 3500-2000 BP for many different uses, but particularly for weapons. As humans developed technology that allowed Iron to be used in the place of Bronze, many weapons were made from meteoric Iron. Although not being in its purest form, this meteoric iron was still harder and stronger than Bronze, as well as being corrosion resistant due to its high Nickel content. 4. Copper is a salmon-pink, lustrous metal that is highly malleable and ductile. It has very high electrical and thermal conductivity. It is unreactive and slow to corrode in the environment. Copper has a wide variety of uses, including: - electrical wiring, used because of its high electrical conductivity and ductility - saucepan bases, used because of its high heat conductivity and malleability - water pipes/fittings, used for its high malleability and resistance to corrosion - ornaments, used because of its lustre and malleability Magnesium is a strong, lightweight, silvery metal. It does not exist as a free element in nature. It has many contemporary uses, including: fireworks high reactivity with oxygen, used because it produces a bright white light when burnt in air structural alloy in aircraft and cars, used for its low density steelmaking (removal of Sulfur from molten steel) high reactivity with Sulfur combines with Sulfur in steel to form stable magnesium sulphide Production of titanium metal high reactivity, used to reduce titanium salts to titanium metal at high temperatures Corrosion protection of iron structures high reactivity acts as a sacrificial anode to protect steel ships from corrosion

Titanium is a silvery, white metal of low density, high tensile strength and high corrosion resistance. It is not found as a free metal in nature and the first samples of metallic titanium were not produced until 1791.

Jaimie Donovan
structural metal (or alloy) in aircraft, spacecraft, racing yachts and racing bicycles, used because of its high tensile strength; low density; high melting point; low thermal conductivity; high corrosion resistance (particularly in salt water) surgical implants, used for its high tensile strength; low density; high corrosion resistance; minimal allergic response in human tissue

5. Steel is a hard, strong, grey or bluish-grey alloy of iron with carbon and usually other elements, used extensively as a structural and fabricating material. Different elemental makeup of Steel alloys allows it to be classified into a variety of different alloys that all have different properties, and thus different uses. Structural Steel is soft, malleable, ductile and corrodes rapidly, making it perfect to use in car bodies, nails, roofing and pipes. Stainless Steel has a high corrosion and tensile strength, and is also abrasion resistance. It is regularly used in kitchen sinks, surgical instruments and cutlery. Brass is an alloy made from a base of copper and zinc, and the proportion of the two affect the colour of the alloy. It is typically a golden-yellow colour that is often used in costume jewellery. A red bronze can be made from a higher percentage of copper compared to zinc. Solder is made from a mixture of lead and tin. The proportion of the two affects the melting point of the alloy. Solder is a fusible alloy used to join wires and electrical components in circuits. It adheres strongly to other metals in the solid and liquid states. 6. Metals are used constantly in contemporary society, and each metal chosen for something is chosen based on a range of properties and other factors. A metal may be chosen because it has physical properties that make it suitable for the task, like copper being chosen for wires because it is ductile and unreactive. A metal, however, may also be chosen for its abundance and ease of extraction, such as Copper, Gold and Silver. The location of a deposit and the demand of the metal of a metal also affects it choice for a commercial use. 7. Metals are not an inexhaustible commodity. There are limited amounts of every metal, therefore making recycling a very important stage in metal use. The recycling of aluminium, which is regularly used in food cans, is very important as it ensures the continued use of it in the future and limits the impact that overuse has on the environment.

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