Although metal is a common material within our daily lives, there are still some facts that will take us by surprise. Let’s look at ten lesser-known facts that will certainly change the way that we view these substances. This will also help us to better appreciate why specific substances are often used to machine delicate and complex parts.
1. Not All Metals Appear “Metallic”
Metals do not necessarily have to appear hard and lustrous to fall into this class. Sodium and potassium are two examples here. In fact, some will literally melt in the palm of your hand. Gallium is a perfect example here.
2. Some Metals are EXTREMELY Reactive
Most metals oxidise in the presence of air and water. However, some are much more reactive than others. Placing substances such as rubidium or francium within water will result in a truly massive explosion. This is the reason why they are often stored in oil so that they will remain safe.
3. Not All Metals are Toxic to the Human Body
Although substances such as aluminium and sodium can be toxic to humans, other metals including titanium will not react with any internal tissues. This is the reason why titanium is often used to make bone braces and dental implants. Titanium will also not corrode when placed within salt water; an important benefit for the shipping industry.
4. Some Metals Have Very High Melting Points
Different metals will exhibit different thermal properties. For example, tungsten melts at the astronomical temperature of 3,422ºC. This is actually one-third as hot as the surface of the sun! Tungsten is often used within high-temperature environments due to this beneficial quality.
5. A Bit of Confusion
One metal known as molybdenum was actually thought to be a carbon-rich substance known as graphite (common as a pencil lead) until 1781. This was not uncommon during the early days of scientific discovery.
6. Both Strong and Light
Some metals are prized for their ductile and lightweight qualities. For example, niobium is often used to fashion jet engine parts and to make components within the medical industry.
7. We Are All Made of Stars
All of the heavier elements besides hydrogen and helium are direct results from exploding stars (supernovae) in the distant past. The process of nuclear fusion under very high temperatures allowed lighter elements to literally “fuse” into heavier particles. Therefore, all of the metals on earth are actually by-products of supernovae explosions billions of years ago.
8. The Rarity of Some Metals
Certain metals are extremely rare; much rarer than gold. This is one of the factors which will help to determine the value of a specific substance. For example, it is thought that there are only one or two atoms of tantalum per million within the crust of the earth.
9. More Than Glamour Alone
Platinum, palladium, silver and gold are all utilised within the jewellery industry. However, these substances also have numerous electronic applications. Smartphones, personal computers and LCD televisions will all employ these metals in order to function.
10. Since Ancient Times
While metals such as molybdenum and niobium have only been discovered recently, others can trace their history as far back as the biblical times. For example, minerals rich in zirconium such as hyacinth and jargon were mined during the days when Jesus Christ walked the earth.
These are ten interesting facts about metals often used within machining processes. to learn about the fabrication & supply of refractory metals, please contact Special Metals Fabrication at your convenience.