Structures and Properties of metals

Metals are used in engineering structures (e.g., automobiles, bridges, pressure vessels) because, in contrast to glass or ceramic, they can undergo appreciable plastic deformation before breaking. The most important mechanical properties of a metal are its yield stress, its ductility (measured by the elongation to fracture), and its toughness (measured by the energy absorbed in tearing the metal). The electrical conductivity of a metal (or its reciprocal, electrical resistivity) is determined by the ease of movement of electrons past the atoms under the influence of an electric field. When an electric current is passed through a coil of metal wire, a magnetic field is developed around the coil. This gives rise to magnetic properties of solids. Also, a special property of metal surfaces is their ability to catalyze chemical reactions.

  • Metallic crystal structures
  • Mechanical properties
  • Electrical properties
  • Magnetic properties
  • Chemical properties

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