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Metals and alloys

Grade 5
May 30, 2023

What is an element?​

​An element is a pure substance formed with atoms that contain the same number of protons, and it is a basic form of matter which means that an element cannot be broken down into a simpler substance.​

If a substance is made up of just one type of atom, then it is called an element. Molecular elements are made of small molecules like oxygen, sulfur, and so on. 

Carbon is a unique element because carbon atoms can form extremely large molecules.  ​

Introduction and Explanation of Metals

Elements such as metals and non-metals are present all around us. Therefore, it is crucial to understand if a specific element is metal or non-metal. Metals and non-metals are additional categories for materials. High thermal and electrical conductivity is a defining attribute of metals like aluminum and copper, whereas insulators like sulfur and phosphorus metal are non-metals. Based on these elements’ characteristics, we can separate them.

Metals are natural compounds of Earth’s crust, in which they are generally found in the form of metal ores, associated both with each other and with many other elements. ​Metals have special properties when compared to other elements that make them suitable for making many useful things to make our daily lives comfortable. ​Metal is utilized to construct a variety of objects since it is strong and long-lasting. These are employed in the production of vehicles, satellites, kitchenware, etc.​


We cannot think of modern life without one or the other metal.​ Metals are elements that have some specific properties and are present in the extreme left corner of the periodic table.  ​

Metals are substances that have or hold properties such as hardness, fusibility, shine, malleability, ductility, and so on. Metals (materials) include things like silver, gold, copper, aluminum, iron, and a plethora of others.

Properties of metals:

  1. Malleability: Metals have a trait called malleability that allows them to be hammered into thin sheets. A silver metal that has been pounded to create silver foil used to decorate confectionery is one example.
  2. Ductility: Metals have the ability to be pulled into thin wires, which is known as ductility. Iron and copper are two examples that can be drawn into thin wires.
  3. Conductivity: Metals are efficient heat and electrical conductors. Silver and copper are the top electrical conductors. Lead and mercury, however, are not good conductors. They all have a high melting point, with the exception of cesium and gallium.

How hard is metal?

Head of a hammer

Sodium metal can be cut with a butter knife. Most metals are hard, but some are not. ​Sodium and potassium are metals that can be cut by a knife. Whereas mercury is a liquid metal at room temperature. Iron is solid in nature.​

Cutting sodium with a knife
  • The hardness of metals is measured by denting them. The size of the dent indicates the hardness. The softer the metal, the deeper or wider the dent. ​
  • Chromium is the hardest metal in pure elemental form. ​ It’s almost as hard as diamonds. ​
  • Cesium (Cs) is the softest metal.​
  • You might be surprised to see that pure copper, silver, and gold are fairly soft.
  • Jewelry and other objects made with these as pure metals would not be worn very well. 
  • Over time, the metal would tend to get rubbed or scratched away. ​ For this reason, copper, silver, and gold are usually mixed with smaller amounts of other metals to improve their strength and hardness.
Metals and Alloys


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