Definition - What does Metal mean?

A Metal is a material found in the earth that can be an alloy, element or compound bearing good thermal and electrical conductivity features. Metals are usually hard, shiny and dark, and can be hammered or shaped out without breaking. Metals have many properties, for example a Metal is fusible, ductile and malleable. Few non-metallic compounds and elements can become metallic when exposed to certain conditions and high pressure. Most Metals are combined together to form alloys. The most common examples of Metals are gold, iron, silver, zinc etc.

Petropedia explains Metal

Metals are alloys, compounds or elements found in the earth. Most Metals are not found in pure state and only few Metals such as platinum, gold, silver and copper are found in their purest form. All other Metals are processed in order to use the Metal element. In most cases, a Metal is combined with elements like oxygen and carbon to form an ore. The metallic part from an ore is extracted by conducting a process known as smelting.

The Metals we use in our routine are not pure Metals, they are alloys. An alloy is prepared by mixing two or more Metals. For example, Metals such as tin and copper are mixed together to form bronze. Metals are categorized into the following forms:

  • Ferrous Metal, e.g., Iron and steel.
  • Base Metal, e.g., Zinc, iron and lead.
  • Precious Metal, e.g., Silver, gold, platinum and palladium.
  • Noble Metal, e.g., Platinum, gold, rhodium and silver.
  • Heavy Metal, e.g., Mercury, chromium, cadmium and arsenic.

In general, a Metal has high density, high electrical and thermal conductivity. Visually, a Metal is lustrous and smooth. It is also capable of deforming without breaking due to the ductile and malleable properties.

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