Q:

What does malleability mean?

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Quick Answer

Malleability means the degree to which something can be shaped, altered or controlled. This word is derived from the word "malleable."

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Full Answer

When used in reference to a physical item, malleability describes how well a substance or metal can be shaped, changed or rolled thin, without cracking or breaking, through the physical means of beating, hammering or applying pressure. Different levels of malleability are based on the crystal structure of the atoms in the metal.

Metals like antimony and bismuth, which are much harder and have rows of atoms that do not align, have lower levels of malleability.

Examples of metals that are malleable include:

  • gold
  • silver
  • iron
  • aluminum
  • copper
  • tin
  • indium
  • lithium

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