A pure metal is a substance that contains atoms of only one type of metallic element, such as aluminum, gold, copper, lead or zinc. Most metals very rarely, if ever, appear in their pure form in nature and instead must be extracted from a metal ore.
Many metals have very useful properties, such as being good conductors of electricity. However, the majority of metals are too soft and malleable to be used in their pure form. Instead, they are combined with other metal or nonmetal elements to form alloys, which are much harder and stronger while still retaining many of the characteristics of the original metal. Examples of alloys include steel, which is made from iron and carbon, and bronze, made from copper and tin.