We work with metals on a daily basis, some would say metals are our bread and butter… well, not quite. We didn’t do out teething on them, nor used them as a pacifier either, however it seems as if we were born with titanium spoon in our mouth. As you can see, we are having fun with them. Anyway, do you share our passion and want to broaden your knowledge on various mill products? Here are some interesting facts about metals you may find interesting.
Did you know, that…
75% of all known chemical elements are metals.
In nature, titanium does not occur in its pure form, but it is found in minerals such as ructile, ilmenite or titanite (sphene).
The only metal, that is liquid in room temperature is mercury, but there are other metals with similar melting temperature. Gallium, for example, melts by the heat of your body. Yes, even if you get cold feet before you touch it.
“Wolfram” in the old days was a contemptous name for a mineral found in tin ores, making it difficult to refine it. Its name originates from the German words “wolfs rahm” meaning wolf’s creme, which “consumed” tin, just like a wolf consumes a sheep. Wolfram is better known as “tungsten“, a cobination of two Swedish words – “tung” (heavy) and “sten” (stone).
Purity of titanium at the level of 99,9% was reached only after 120 years after its discovery.
Nickel is a main element of mu-metal (a nickel-iron with cuprum and molybdenum), an alloy used for shielding magnetic fields, due to its very high permeability.
Only 5% of global production of titanium goes for alloys – the rest of it is used to manufacture Pigment White (titanium white), or chemically – titanium dioxide.
5 US cents, popularily called “nickel” is actually 75% of copper and 25% of nickel, while Canadian “nickel” is made primarily out of steel. Due to ever-changing value of different metals, there are a lot of “penny investors“, who collect coins made of alloys which value is higher than the nominal value of the coin. Penny investors, you say? Well, due to rapidly changing price of silver, US mint decided to thin out the alloy used for 10 US cent coins. Result? After over 40 years, each of that “old” dimes has a value well over 3 dollars.
Titanium white has a broad spectrum of applications and can be found in toothpaste, sunscreens, paper or plastic elements, giving them a distinct white color.
Titanium is popularily used in a jewelry industry to better the mechanical properties of gold alloys. Pure gold is very ductile, so to make it harder, titanium is used. Just by adding 1% of titanium, makes gold more durable without changing its karat.
A 2007 Supernova SN2007bi (Virgo constellation) has synthetized three times more nickel than a mass our Sun.
Tugsten is the heavies element taking part in biochemical reactions, there are bacteria that use tungsten in an enzyme to reduces carboxylic acids to aldehydes, in human body tungsten interferes with metabolism of copper and molybdenum, hence it is considered slightly toxic.
Tantalum received its name after Tantalus, the father of Niobe in Greek mythology. Funny enough, in the world of chemistry, both tantalum and niobium have very similar properties, almos “like father like daughter“. References to mythology don’t end up here – Tantalus after his death was condemned to stand in knee-deep water with fruit growing above his head. However, when he reaches for either the water or fruit, both move out of his reach. Anders Ekeberg saw this similarity – “This metal I call tantalum…partly in allusion to its incapacity, when immersed in acid, to absorb any and be saturated.”.
Can metallurgy be considered a sustainable environmental technology? This is the question that bothers not only environmental activists, but anybody concerned with the mining industry having a considerable impact on the natural environment.
Ability to develop, create and apply a specific material marks the border between business success or failure. Forecasting mechanical properties of a new alloy is an important aspect for both scientists and engineers as it allows saving time and money.
What is corrosion? From the chemical point of view, it is a natural, electrochemical process between the surface and the environment, converting a refined metal into a more stable form of oxides, hydroxides or sulfides.