What Are Metals Used For?

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Metals are used to build bridges, plumb homes and make jewelry, wiring, pans and roofing among many other items. Gates, railings and fences are also made out of metal.

There are two different types of metal: ferrous and nonferrous. Ferrous metals are metals that contain iron, are magnetic and have poor corrosion resistance. Metals that do not contain iron are nonferrous metals. These metals are typically nonmagnetic and have more corrosion resistance. Stainless steel, cast and wrought iron are all ferrous metals. Many things can be made out of these metals including: cutlery, manhole covers and engines. Wiring, pipes and bowls can be made out of copper, which is a nonferrous metal. Hammers, nails, anvils and wrenches are often made out of carbon steel. Stainless steel can be seen in kitchen sinks, food processing equipment and on appliance trim applications. Iron is also found in the blood as the core of hemoglobin, the mammalian body's molecule of choice for transporting oxygen.

Some metals are considered to be very valuable, such as gold, platinum and silver. Gold is most commonly used in jewelry and as a component in electronics thanks to its corrosion resistance. Silver can be found in coins, photography and batteries and is also used to control odor in shoes and prevent mold in treated wood.