A metal (from Greek μέταλλον métallon, "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearance, and conducts electricity and heat relatively well. Metals are typically malleable (they can be hammered into thin sheets) or ductile (can be drawn into wires). A metal may be a chemical element such as iron, or an alloy such as stainless steel.
In physics, a metal is generally regarded as any substance capable of conducting electricity at a temperature of absolute zero. Many elements and compounds that are not normally classified as metals become metallic under high pressures. For example, the nonmetal iodine gradually becomes a metal at a pressure of between 40 and 170 thousand times atmospheric pressure. Equally, some materials regarded as metals can become nonmetals. Sodium, for example, becomes a nonmetal at pressure of just under two million times atmospheric pressure.
In chemistry, two elements that would otherwise qualify (in physics) as brittle metals—arsenic and antimony—are commonly instead recognised as metalloids, on account of their predominately non-metallic chemistry. Around 95 of the 118 elements in the periodic table are metals (or are likely to be such). The number is inexact as the boundaries between metals, nonmetals, and metalloids fluctuate slightly due to a lack of universally accepted definitions of the categories involved.
In astrophysics the term "metal" is cast more widely to refer to all chemical elements in a star that are heavier than the lightest two, hydrogen and helium, and not just traditional metals. A star fuses lighter atoms, mostly hydrogen and helium, into heavier atoms over its lifetime. Used in that sense, the metallicity of an astronomical object is the proportion of its matter made up of the heavier chemical elements.
Metals comprise 25% of the Earth's crust and are present in many aspects of modern life. The strength and resilience of some metals has led to their frequent use in, for example, high-rise building and bridge construction, as well as most vehicles, many home appliances, tools, pipes, and railroad tracks. Precious metals were historically used as coinage, but in the modern era, coinage metals have extended to at least 23 of the chemical elements.
The history of metals is thought to begin with the use of copper about 11,000 years ago. Gold, silver, iron (as meteoric iron), lead, and brass were likewise in use before the first known appearance of bronze in the 5th millennium BCE. Subsequent developments include the production of early forms of steel; the discovery of sodium—the first light metal—in 1809; the rise of modern alloy steels; and, since the end of World War II, the development of more sophisticated alloys.
The solid or liquid state of metals largely originates in the capacity of the metal atoms involved to readily lose their outer shell electrons. Broadly, the forces holding an individual atom’s outer shell electrons in place are weaker than the attractive forces on the same electrons arising from interactions between the atoms in the solid or liquid metal. The electrons involved become delocalised and the atomic structure of a metal can effectively be visualised as a collection of atoms embedded in a cloud of relatively mobile electrons. This type of interaction is called a metallic bond. The strength of metallic bonds for different elemental metals reaches a maximum around the center of the transition metal series, as these elements have large numbers of delocalized electrons.[n 1]
Although most elemental metals have higher densities than most nonmetals, there is a wide variation in their densities, lithium being the least dense (0.534 g/cm3) and osmium (22.59 g/cm3) the most dense. Magnesium, aluminium and titanium are light metals of significant commercial importance. Their respective densities of 1.7, 2.7 and 4.5 g/cm3 can be compared to those of the older structural metals, like iron at 7.9 and copper at 8.9 g/cm3. An iron ball would thus weigh about as much as three aluminium balls.
Metals are typically malleable and ductile, deforming under stress without cleaving. The nondirectional nature of metallic bonding is thought to contribute significantly to the ductility of most metallic solids. In contrast, in an ionic compound like table salt, when the planes of an ionic bond slide past one another, the resultant change in location shifts ions of the same charge into close proximity, resulting in the cleavage of the crystal. Such a shift is not observed in a covalently bonded crystal, such as a diamond, where fracture and crystal fragmentation occurs. Reversible elastic deformation in metals can be described by Hooke's Law for restoring forces, where the stress is linearly proportional to the strain.
Heat or forces larger than a metal's elastic limit may cause a permanent (irreversible) deformation, known as plastic deformation or plasticity. An applied force may be a tensile (pulling) force, a compressive (pushing) force, or a shear, bending or torsion (twisting) force. A temperature change may affect the movement or displacement of structural defects in the metal such as grain boundaries, point vacancies, line and screw dislocations, stacking faults and twins in both crystalline and non-crystalline metals. Internal slip, creep, and metal fatigue may ensue.
The atoms of metallic substances are typically arranged in one of three common crystal structures, namely body-centered cubic (bcc), face-centered cubic (fcc), and hexagonal close-packed (hcp). In bcc, each atom is positioned at the center of a cube of eight others. In fcc and hcp, each atom is surrounded by twelve others, but the stacking of the layers differs. Some metals adopt different structures depending on the temperature.
The unit cell for each crystal structure is the smallest group of atoms which has the overall symmetry of the crystal, and from which the entire crystalline lattice can be built up by repetition in three dimensions. In the case of the body-centered cubic crystal structure shown above, the unit cell is made up of the central atom plus one-eight of each of the eight corner atoms.
The electronic structure of metals means they are relatively good conductors of electricity. Electrons in matter can only have fixed rather than variable energy levels, and in a metal the energy levels of the electrons in its electron cloud, at least to some degree, correspond to the energy levels at which electrical conduction can occur. In a semiconductor like silicon or a nonmetal like sulfur there is an energy gap between the electrons in the substance and the energy level at which electrical conduction can occur. Consequently semiconductors and nonmetals are relatively poor conductors.
The elemental metals have electrical conductivity values of from 6.9 × 103 S/cm for manganese to 6.3 × 105 S/cm for silver. In contrast, a semiconducting metalloid such as boron has an electrical conductivity 1.5 × 10−6 S/cm. With one exception, metallic elements reduce their electrical conductivity when heated. Plutonium increases its electrical conductivity when heated in the temperature range of around −175 to +125 °C.
Metals are relatively good conductors of heat. The electrons in a metal's electron cloud are highly mobile and easily able to pass on heat-induced vibrational energy.
The contribution of a metal's electrons to its heat capacity and thermal conductivity, and the electrical conductivity of the metal itself can be calculated from the free electron model, albeit this does not take into account the detailed structure of the metal's ion lattice. Taking into account the positive potential caused by the arrangement of the ion cores enables consideration of the electronic band structure and binding energy of a metal. Various mathematical models are applicable, the simplest being the nearly free electron model.
Metals are usually inclined to form cations through electron loss. Most will react with oxygen in the air to form oxides over various timescales (potassium burns in seconds while iron rusts over years). Some others, like palladium, platinum and gold, do not react with the atmosphere at all. The oxides of metals are generally basic, as opposed to those of nonmetals, which are acidic or neutral. Exceptions are largely oxides with very high oxidation states such as CrO3, Mn2O7, and OsO4, which have strictly acidic reactions.
Painting, anodizing or plating metals are good ways to prevent their corrosion. However, a more reactive metal in the electrochemical series must be chosen for coating, especially when chipping of the coating is expected. Water and the two metals form an electrochemical cell, and if the coating is less reactive than the underlying metal, the coating actually promotes corrosion.
In chemistry, the elements which are usually considered to be metals under ordinary conditions are shown in yellow on the periodic table below. The elements shown as having unknown properties are likely to be metals. The remaining elements are either metalloids (B, Si, Ge, As, Sb, and Te being commonly recognised as such) or nonmetals. Astatine (At) is usually classified as either a nonmetal or a metalloid; it has been predicted to be a metal. It is here shown as a metalloid.
An alloy is a substance having metallic properties and which is composed of two or more elements at least one of which is a metal. An alloy may have a variable or fixed composition. For example, gold and silver form an alloy in which the proportions of gold or silver can be freely adjusted; titanium and silicon form an alloy Ti2Si in which the ratio of the two components is fixed (also known as an intermetallic compound).
Most pure metals are either too soft, brittle or chemically reactive for practical use. Combining different ratios of metals as alloys modifies the properties of pure metals to produce desirable characteristics. The aim of making alloys is generally to make them less brittle, harder, resistant to corrosion, or have a more desirable color and luster. Of all the metallic alloys in use today, the alloys of iron (steel, stainless steel, cast iron, tool steel, alloy steel) make up the largest proportion both by quantity and commercial value. Iron alloyed with various proportions of carbon gives low, mid and high carbon steels, with increasing carbon levels reducing ductility and toughness. The addition of silicon will produce cast irons, while the addition of chromium, nickel and molybdenum to carbon steels (more than 10%) results in stainless steels.
Other significant metallic alloys are those of aluminium, titanium, copper and magnesium. Copper alloys have been known since prehistory—bronze gave the Bronze Age its name—and have many applications today, most importantly in electrical wiring. The alloys of the other three metals have been developed relatively recently; due to their chemical reactivity they require electrolytic extraction processes. The alloys of aluminium, titanium and magnesium are valued for their high strength-to-weight ratios; magnesium can also provide electromagnetic shielding. These materials are ideal for situations where high strength-to-weight ratio is more important than material cost, such as in aerospace and some automotive applications.
Alloys specially designed for highly demanding applications, such as jet engines, may contain more than ten elements.
Metals can be categorised according to their physical or chemical properties. Categories described in the subsections below include ferrous and non-ferrous metals; brittle metals and refractory metals; heavy and light metals; and base, noble, and precious metals. The Metallic elements table in this section categorises the elemental metals on the basis of their chemical properties into alkali and alkaline earth metals; transition and post-transition metals; and lanthanides and actinides. Other categories are possible, depending on the criteria for inclusion. For example, the ferromagnetic metals—those metals that are magnetic at room temperature—are iron, cobalt, and nickel.
The term "ferrous" is derived from the Latin word meaning "containing iron". This can include pure iron, such as wrought iron, or an alloy such as steel. Ferrous metals are often magnetic, but not exclusively. Non-ferrous metals—alloys—lack appreciable amounts of iron.
While nearly all metals are malleable or ductile, a few—beryllium, chromium, manganese, gallium, and bismuth—are brittle. Arsenic, and antimony, if admitted as metals, are brittle. Low values of the ratio of bulk elastic modulus to shear modulus (Pugh's criterion) are indicative of intrinsic brittleness.
In materials science, metallurgy, and engineering, a refractory metal is a metal that is extraordinarily resistant to heat and wear. Which metals belong to this category varies; the most common definition includes niobium, molybdenum, tantalum, tungsten, and rhenium. They all have melting points above 2000 °C, and a high hardness at room temperature.
A white metal is any of range of white-coloured metals (or their alloys) with relatively low melting points. Such metals include zinc, cadmium, tin, antimony (here counted as a metal), lead, and bismuth, some of which are quite toxic. In Britain, the fine art trade uses the term "white metal" in auction catalogues to describe foreign silver items which do not carry British Assay Office marks, but which are nonetheless understood to be silver and are priced accordingly.
A heavy metal is any relatively dense metal or metalloid. More specific definitions have been proposed, but none have obtained widespread acceptance. Some heavy metals have niche uses, or are notably toxic; some are essential in trace amounts. All other metals are light metals.
In chemistry, the term base metal is used informally to refer to a metal that is easily oxidized or corroded, such as reacting easily with dilute hydrochloric acid (HCl) to form a metal chloride and hydrogen. Examples include iron, nickel, lead and zinc. Copper is considered a base metal as it is oxidized relatively easily, although it does not react with HCl.
The term noble metal is commonly used in opposition to base metal. Noble metals are resistant to corrosion or oxidation, unlike most base metals. They tend to be precious metals, often due to perceived rarity. Examples include gold, platinum, silver, rhodium, iridium and palladium.
In alchemy and numismatics, the term base metal is contrasted with precious metal, that is, those of high economic value. A longtime goal of the alchemists was the transmutation of base metals into precious metals including such coinage metals as silver and gold. Most coins today are made of base metals with no intrinsic value, in the past, coins frequently derived their value primarily from their precious metal content.
Chemically, the precious metals (like the noble metals) are less reactive than most elements, have high luster and high electrical conductivity. Historically, precious metals were important as currency, but are now regarded mainly as investment and industrial commodities. Gold, silver, platinum and palladium each have an ISO 4217 currency code. The best-known precious metals are gold and silver. While both have industrial uses, they are better known for their uses in art, jewelry, and coinage. Other precious metals include the platinum group metals: ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum, of which platinum is the most widely traded.
The demand for precious metals is driven not only by their practical use, but also by their role as investments and a store of value. Palladium and platinum, as of fall 2018, were valued at about three quarters the price of gold. Silver is substantially less expensive than these metals, but is often traditionally considered a precious metal in light of its role in coinage and jewelry.
Metals in the Earth's crust:
|abundance and main occurrence or source, by weight[n 2]|
82000 ppm)Most abundant (up to
100–999 ppm)Abundant (
Uncommon (1–99 ppm)
0.01–0.99 ppm)Rare (
0.0001–0.0099 ppm)Very rare (
|Metals left of the dividing line occur (or are sourced) mainly as lithophiles; those to the right, as chalcophiles except gold (a siderophile) and tin (a lithophile).|
Metals up to the vicinity of iron (in the periodic table) are largely made via stellar nucleosynthesis. In this process, lighter elements from hydrogen to silicon undergo successive fusion reactions inside stars, releasing light and heat and forming heavier elements with higher atomic numbers.
Heavier metals are not usually formed this way since fusion reactions involving such nuclei would consume rather than release energy. Rather, they are largely synthesised (from elements with a lower atomic number) by neutron capture, with the two main modes of this repetitive capture being the s-process and the r-process. In the s-process ("s" stands for "slow"), singular captures are separated by years or decades, allowing the less stable nuclei to beta decay, while in the r-process ("rapid"), captures happen faster than nuclei can decay. Therefore, the s-process takes a more or less clear path: for example, stable cadmium-110 nuclei are successively bombarded by free neutrons inside a star until they form cadmium-115 nuclei which are unstable and decay to form indium-115 (which is nearly stable, with a half-life 30000 times the age of the universe). These nuclei capture neutrons and form indium-116, which is unstable, and decays to form tin-116, and so on.[n 3] In contrast, there is no such path in the r-process. The s-process stops at bismuth due to the short half-lives of the next two elements, polonium and astatine, which decay to bismuth or lead. The r-process is so fast it can skip this zone of instability and go on to create heavier elements such as thorium and uranium.
Metals condense in planets as a result of stellar evolution and destruction processes. Stars lose much of their mass when it is ejected late in their lifetimes, and sometimes thereafter as a result of a neutron star merger,[n 4] thereby increasing the abundance of elements heavier than helium in the interstellar medium. When gravitational attraction causes this matter to coalesce and collapse new stars and planets are formed.
The Earth's crust is made of approximately 25% of metals by weight, of which 80% are light metals such as sodium, magnesium, and aluminium. Nonmetals (~75%) make up the rest of the crust. Despite the overall scarcity of some heavier metals such as copper, they can become concentrated in economically extractable quantities as a result of mountain building, erosion, or other geological processes.
Metals are primarily found as lithophiles (rock-loving) or chalcophiles (ore-loving). Lithophile metals are mainly the s-block elements, the more reactive of the d-block elements. and the f-block elements. They have a strong affinity for oxygen and mostly exist as relatively low density silicate minerals. Chalcophile metals are mainly the less reactive d-block elements, and the period 4–6 p-block metals. They are usually found in (insoluble) sulfide minerals. Being denser than the lithophiles, hence sinking lower into the crust at the time of its solidification, the chalcophiles tend to be less abundant than the lithophiles.
On the other hand, gold is a siderophile, or iron-loving element. It does not readily form compounds with either oxygen or sulfur. At the time of the Earth's formation, and as the most noble (inert) of metals, gold sank into the core due to its tendency to form high-density metallic alloys. Consequently, it is a relatively rare metal. Some other (less) noble metals—molybdenum, rhenium, the platinum group metals (ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum), germanium, and tin—can be counted as siderophiles but only in terms of their primary occurrence in the Earth (core, mantle and crust), rather the crust. These metals otherwise occur in the crust, in small quantities, chiefly as chalcophiles (less so in their native form).[n 5]
The rotating fluid outer core of the Earth's interior, which is composed mostly of iron, is thought to be the source of Earth's protective magnetic field.[n 6] The core lies above Earth's solid inner core and below its mantle. If it could be rearranged into a column having a 5m2 footprint it would have a height of nearly 700 light years. The magnetic field shields the Earth from the charged particles of the solar wind, and cosmic rays that would otherwise strip away the upper atmosphere (including the ozone layer that limits the transmission of ultraviolet radiation).
Metals are often extracted from the Earth by means of mining ores that are rich sources of the requisite elements, such as bauxite. Ore is located by prospecting techniques, followed by the exploration and examination of deposits. Mineral sources are generally divided into surface mines, which are mined by excavation using heavy equipment, and subsurface mines. In some cases, the sale price of the metal/s involved make it economically feasible to mine lower concentration sources.
Once the ore is mined, the metals must be extracted, usually by chemical or electrolytic reduction. Pyrometallurgy uses high temperatures to convert ore into raw metals, while hydrometallurgy employs aqueous chemistry for the same purpose. The methods used depend on the metal and their contaminants.
When a metal ore is an ionic compound of that metal and a non-metal, the ore must usually be smelted—heated with a reducing agent—to extract the pure metal. Many common metals, such as iron, are smelted using carbon as a reducing agent. Some metals, such as aluminium and sodium, have no commercially practical reducing agent, and are extracted using electrolysis instead.
Sulfide ores are not reduced directly to the metal but are roasted in air to convert them to oxides.
Metals are present in nearly all aspects of modern life. Iron, a heavy metal, may be the most common as it accounts for 90% of all refined metals; aluminium, a light metal, is the next most commonly refined metal. Pure iron may be the cheapest metallic element of all at cost of about US$0.07 per gram. Its ores are widespread; it is easy to refine; and the technology involved has been developed over hundreds of years. Cast iron is even cheaper, at a fraction of US$0.01 per gram, because there is no need for subsequent purification. Platinum, at a cost of about $27 per gram, may be the most ubiquitous given its very high melting point, resistance to corrosion, electrical conductivity, and durability. It is said to be found in, or used to produce, 20% of all consumer goods. Polonium is likely to be the most expensive metal, at a notional cost of about $100,000,000 per gram, due to its scarcity and micro-scale production.
Some metals and metal alloys possess high structural strength per unit mass, making them useful materials for carrying large loads or resisting impact damage. Metal alloys can be engineered to have high resistance to shear, torque and deformation. However the same metal can also be vulnerable to fatigue damage through repeated use or from sudden stress failure when a load capacity is exceeded. The strength and resilience of metals has led to their frequent use in high-rise building and bridge construction, as well as most vehicles, many appliances, tools, pipes, and railroad tracks.
Metals are good conductors, making them valuable in electrical appliances and for carrying an electric current over a distance with little energy lost. Electrical power grids rely on metal cables to distribute electricity. Home electrical systems, for the most part, are wired with copper wire for its good conducting properties.
The thermal conductivity of metals is useful for containers to heat materials over a flame. Metals are also used for heat sinks to protect sensitive equipment from overheating.
The high reflectivity of some metals enables their use in mirrors, including precision astronomical instruments, and adds to the aesthetics of metallic jewelry.
Some metals have specialized uses; mercury is a liquid at room temperature and is used in switches to complete a circuit when it flows over the switch contacts. Radioactive metals such as uranium and plutonium are used in nuclear power plants to produce energy via nuclear fission. Shape memory alloys are used for applications such as pipes, fasteners and vascular stents.
Metals can be doped with foreign molecules—organic, inorganic, biological and polymers. This doping entails the metal with new properties that are induced by the guest molecules. Applications in catalysis, medicine, electrochemical cells, corrosion and more have been developed.
Demand for metals is closely linked to economic growth given their use in infrastructure, construction, manufacturing, and consumer goods. During the 20th century, the variety of metals used in society grew rapidly. Today, the development of major nations, such as China and India, and technological advances, are fuelling ever more demand. The result is that mining activities are expanding, and more and more of the world's metal stocks are above ground in use, rather than below ground as unused reserves. An example is the in-use stock of copper. Between 1932 and 1999, copper in use in the U.S. rose from 73g to 238g per person.
Metals are inherently recyclable, so in principle, can be used over and over again, minimizing these negative environmental impacts and saving energy. For example, 95% of the energy used to make aluminium from bauxite ore is saved by using recycled material.
Globally, metal recycling is generally low. In 2010, the International Resource Panel, hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme published reports on metal stocks that exist within society and their recycling rates. The authors of the report observed that the metal stocks in society can serve as huge mines above ground. They warned that the recycling rates of some rare metals used in applications such as mobile phones, battery packs for hybrid cars and fuel cells are so low that unless future end-of-life recycling rates are dramatically stepped up these critical metals will become unavailable for use in modern technology.
Some metals are either essential nutrients (typically iron, cobalt, and zinc), or relatively harmless (such as ruthenium, silver, and indium), but can be toxic in larger amounts or certain forms. Other metals, such as cadmium, mercury, and lead, are highly poisonous. Potential sources of metal poisoning include mining, tailings, industrial wastes, agricultural runoff, occupational exposure, paints and treated timber.
Copper, which occurs in native form, may have been the first metal discovered given its distinctive appearance, heaviness, and malleability compared to other stones or pebbles. Gold, silver, and iron (as meteoric iron), and lead were likewise discovered in prehistory. Forms of brass, an alloy of copper and zinc made by concurrently smelting the ores of these metals, originate from this period (although pure zinc was not isolated until the 13th century). The malleability of the solid metals led to the first attempts to craft metal ornaments, tools, and weapons. Meteoric iron containing nickel was discovered from time to time and, in some respects this was superior to any industrial steel manufactured up to the 1880s when alloy steels become prominent.
The discovery of bronze (an alloy of copper with arsenic or tin) enabled people to create metal objects which were harder and more durable than previously possible. Bronze tools, weapons, armor, and building materials such as decorative tiles were harder and more durable than their stone and copper ("Chalcolithic") predecessors. Initially, bronze was made of copper and arsenic (forming arsenic bronze) by smelting naturally or artificially mixed ores of copper and arsenic. The earliest artifacts so far known come from the Iranian plateau in the 5th millennium BCE. It was only later that tin was used, becoming the major non-copper ingredient of bronze in the late 3rd millennium BCE. Pure tin itself was first isolated in 1800 BCE by Chinese and Japanese metalworkers.
Mercury was known to ancient Chinese and Indians before 2000 BCE, and found in Egyptian tombs dating from 1500 BCE.
The earliest known production of steel, an iron-carbon alloy, is seen in pieces of ironware excavated from an archaeological site in Anatolia (Kaman-Kalehöyük) and are nearly 4,000 years old, dating from 1800 BCE.
From about 500 BCE sword-makers of Toledo, Spain were making early forms of alloy steel by adding a mineral called wolframite, which contained tungsten and manganese, to iron ore (and carbon). The resulting Toledo steel came to the attention of Rome when used by Hannibal in the Punic Wars. It soon became the basis for the weaponry of Roman legions; their swords were said to have been "so keen that there is no helmet which cannot be cut through by them."[n 8]
In pre-Columbian America, objects made of tumbaga, an alloy of copper and gold, started being produced in Panama and Costa Rica between 300–500 CE. Small metal sculptures were common and an extensive range of tumbaga (and gold) ornaments comprised the usual regalia of persons of high status.
At around the same time indigenous Ecuadorians were combining gold with a naturally-occurring platinum alloy containing small amounts of palladium, rhodium, and iridium, to produce miniatures and masks composed of a white gold-platinum alloy. The metal workers involved heated gold with grains of the platinum alloy until the gold melted at which point the platinum group metals became bound within the gold. After cooling, the resulting conglomeration was hammered and reheated repeatedly until it became as homogenous as if all of the metals concerned had been melted together (attaining the melting points of the platinum group metals concerned was beyond the technology of the day).[n 9]
Arabic and medieval alchemists believed that all metals and matter were composed of the principle of sulfur, the father of all metals and carrying the combustible property, and the principle of mercury, the mother of all metals[n 10] and carrier of the liquidity, fusibility, and volatility properties. These principles were not necessarily the common substances sulfur and mercury found in most laboratories. This theory reinforced the belief that all metals were destined to become gold in the bowels of the earth through the proper combinations of heat, digestion, time, and elimination of contaminants, all of which could be developed and hastened through the knowledge and methods of alchemy.[n 11]
Arsenic, zinc, antimony, and bismuth became known, although these were at first called semimetals or bastard metals on account of their immalleability. All four may have been used incidentally in earlier times without recognising their nature. Albertus Magnus is believed to have been the first to isolate arsenic from a compound in 1250, by heating soap together with arsenic trisulfide. Metallic zinc, which is brittle if impure, was isolated in India by 1300 AD. The first description of a procedure for isolating antimony is in the 1540 book De la pirotechnia by Vannoccio Biringuccio. Bismuth was described by Agricola in De Natura Fossilium (c. 1546); it had been confused in early times with tin and lead because of its resemblance to those elements.
Sixteen years later, Georgius Agricola published De Re Metallica in 1556, a clear and complete account of the profession of mining, metallurgy, and the accessory arts and sciences, as well as qualifying as the greatest treatise on the chemical industry through the sixteenth century.
He gave the following description of a metal in his De Natura Fossilium (1546):
Metal is a mineral body, by nature either liquid or somewhat hard. The latter may be melted by the heat of the fire, but when it has cooled down again and lost all heat, it becomes hard again and resumes its proper form. In this respect it differs from the stone which melts in the fire, for although the latter regain its hardness, yet it loses its pristine form and properties.
Traditionally there are six different kinds of metals, namely gold, silver, copper, iron, tin and lead. There are really others, for quicksilver is a metal, although the Alchemists disagree with us on this subject, and bismuth is also. The ancient Greek writers seem to have been ignorant of bismuth, wherefore Ammonius rightly states that there are many species of metals, animals, and plants which are unknown to us. Stibium when smelted in the crucible and refined has as much right to be regarded as a proper metal as is accorded to lead by writers. If when smelted, a certain portion be added to tin, a bookseller's alloy is produced from which the type is made that is used by those who print books on paper.
Each metal has its own form which it preserves when separated from those metals which were mixed with it. Therefore neither electrum nor Stannum [not meaning our tin] is of itself a real metal, but rather an alloy of two metals. Electrum is an alloy of gold and silver, Stannum of lead and silver. And yet if silver be parted from the electrum, then gold remains and not electrum; if silver be taken away from Stannum, then lead remains and not Stannum.
Whether brass, however, is found as a native metal or not, cannot be ascertained with any surety. We only know of the artificial brass, which consists of copper tinted with the colour of the mineral calamine. And yet if any should be dug up, it would be a proper metal. Black and white copper seem to be different from the red kind.
Metal, therefore, is by nature either solid, as I have stated, or fluid, as in the unique case of quicksilver.
But enough now concerning the simple kinds.
Platinum, the third precious metal after gold and silver, was discovered in Ecuador during the period 1736 to 1744, by the Spanish astronomer Antonio de Ulloa and his colleague the mathematician Jorge Juan y Santacilia. Ulloa was the first person to write a scientific description of the metal, in 1748.
In 1789, the German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth was able to isolate an oxide of uranium, which he thought was the metal itself. Klaproth was subsequently credited as the discoverer of uranium. It was not until 1841, that the French chemist Eugène-Melchior Péligot, was able to prepare the first sample of uranium metal. Henri Becquerel subsequently discovered radioactivity in 1896 by using uranium.
In the 1790s, Joseph Priestley and the Dutch chemist Martinus van Marum observed the transformative action of metal surfaces on the dehydrogenation of alcohol, a development which subsequently led, in 1831, to the industrial scale synthesis of sulphuric acid using a platinum catalyst.
In 1803, cerium was the first of the lanthanide metals to be discovered, in Bastnäs, Sweden by Jöns Jakob Berzelius and Wilhelm Hisinger, and independently by Martin Heinrich Klaproth in Germany. The lanthanide metals were largely regarded as oddities until the 1960s when methods were developed to more efficiently separate them from one another. They have subsequently found uses in cell phones, magnets, lasers, lighting, batteries, catalytic converters, and in other applications enabling modern technologies.
Other metals discovered and prepared during this time were cobalt, nickel, manganese, molybdenum, tungsten, and chromium; and some of the platinum group metals, palladium, osmium, iridium, and rhodium.
All metals discovered until 1809 had relatively high densities; their heaviness was regarded as a singularly distinguishing criterion. From 1809 onwards, light metals such as sodium, potassium, and strontium were isolated. Their low densities challenged conventional wisdom as to the nature of metals. They behaved chemically as metals however, and were subsequently recognised as such.
Aluminium was discovered in 1824 but it was not until 1886 that an industrial large-scale production method was developed. Prices of aluminium dropped and aluminium became widely used in jewelry, everyday items, eyeglass frames, optical instruments, tableware, and foil in the 1890s and early 20th century. Aluminium's ability to form hard yet light alloys with other metals provided the metal many uses at the time. During World War I, major governments demanded large shipments of aluminium for light strong airframes. The most common metal in use for electric power transmission today is aluminium conductor steel reinforced. Also seeing much use is all-aluminum-alloy conductor. Aluminium is used because it has about half the weight of a comparable resistance copper cable (though larger diameter due to lower specific conductivity), as well as being cheaper. Copper was more popular in the past and is still in use, especially at lower voltages and for grounding.
While pure metallic titanium (99.9%) was first prepared in 1910 it was not used outside the laboratory until 1932. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Soviet Union pioneered the use of titanium in military and submarine applications as part of programs related to the Cold War. Starting in the early 1950s, titanium came into use extensively in military aviation, particularly in high-performance jets, starting with aircraft such as the F-100 Super Sabre and Lockheed A-12 and SR-71.
Metallic scandium was produced for the first time in 1937. The first pound of 99% pure scandium metal was produced in 1960. Production of aluminium-scandium alloys began in 1971 following a U.S. patent. Aluminium-scandium alloys were also developed in the USSR.
The modern era in steelmaking began with the introduction of Henry Bessemer's Bessemer process in 1855, the raw material for which was pig iron. His method let him produce steel in large quantities cheaply, thus mild steel came to be used for most purposes for which wrought iron was formerly used. The Gilchrist-Thomas process (or basic Bessemer process) was an improvement to the Bessemer process, made by lining the converter with a basic material to remove phosphorus.
In 1872, the Englishmen Clark and Woods patented an alloy that would today be considered a stainless steel. The corrosion resistance of iron-chromium alloys had been recognized in 1821 by French metallurgist Pierre Berthier. He noted their resistance against attack by some acids and suggested their use in cutlery. Metallurgists of the 19th century were unable to produce the combination of low carbon and high chromium found in most modern stainless steels, and the high-chromium alloys they could produce were too brittle to be practical. It was not until 1912 that the industrialisation of stainless steel alloys occurred in England, Germany, and the United States.
By 1900 three metals with atomic numbers less than lead (#82), the heaviest stable metal, remained to be discovered: elements 71, 72, 75.
Von Welsbach, in 1906, proved that the old ytterbium also contained a new element (#71), which he named cassiopeium. Urbain proved this simultaneously, but his samples were very impure and only contained trace quantities of the new element. Despite this, his chosen name lutetium was adopted.
In 1908, Ogawa found element 75 in thorianite but assigned it as element 43 instead of 75 and named it nipponium. In 1925 Walter Noddack, Ida Eva Tacke and Otto Berg announced its separation from gadolinite and gave it the present name, rhenium.
Georges Urbain claimed to have found element 72 in rare-earth residues, while Vladimir Vernadsky independently found it in orthite. Neither claim was confirmed due to World War I, and neither could be confirmed later, as the chemistry they reported does not match that now known for hafnium. After the war, in 1922, Coster and Hevesy found it by X-ray spectroscopic analysis in Norwegian zircon. Hafnium was thus the last stable element to be discovered.
By the end of World War II scientists had synthesized four post-uranium elements, all of which are radioactive (unstable) metals: neptunium (in 1940), plutonium (1940–41), and curium and americium (1944), representing elements 93 to 96. The first two of these were eventually found in nature as well. Curium and americium were by-products of the Manhattan project, which produced the world's first atomic bomb in 1945. The bomb was based on the nuclear fission of uranium, a metal first thought to have been discovered nearly 150 years earlier.
Superalloys composed of combinations of Fe, Ni, Co, and Cr, and lesser amounts of W, Mo, Ta, Nb, Ti, and Al were developed shortly after World War II for use in high performance engines, operating at elevated temperatures (above 650 °C (1,200 °F)). They retain most of their strength under these conditions, for prolonged periods, and combine good low-temperature ductility with resistance to corrosion or oxidation. Superalloys can now be found in a wide range of applications including land, maritime, and aerospace turbines, and chemical and petroleum plants.
The successful development of the atomic bomb at the end of World War II sparked further efforts to synthesize new elements, nearly all of which are, or are expected to be, metals, and all of which are radioactive. It was not until 1949 that element 97 (berkelium), next after element 96 (curium), was synthesized by firing alpha particles at an americium target. In 1952, element 100 (fermium) was found in the debris of the first hydrogen bomb explosion; hydrogen, a nonmetal, had been identified as an element nearly 200 years earlier. Since 1952, elements 101 (mendelevium) to 117 (tennessine) have been synthesized. The most recently synthesized element is 118 (oganneson). Its status as a metal or a nonmetal—or something else—is not yet clear.
A metallic glass (also known as an amorphous or glassy metal) is a solid metallic material, usually an alloy, with disordered atomic-scale structure. Most pure and alloyed metals, in their solid state, have atoms arranged in a highly ordered crystalline structure. Amorphous metals have a non-crystalline glass-like structure. But unlike common glasses, such as window glass, which are typically electrical insulators, amorphous metals have good electrical conductivity. Amorphous metals are produced in several ways, including extremely rapid cooling, physical vapor deposition, solid-state reaction, ion irradiation, and mechanical alloying. The first reported metallic glass was an alloy (Au75Si25) produced at Caltech in 1960. More recently, batches of amorphous steel with three times the strength of conventional steel alloys have been produced. Currently the most important applications rely on the special magnetic properties of some ferromagnetic metallic glasses. The low magnetization loss is used in high efficiency transformers. Theft control ID tags and other article surveillance schemes often use metallic glasses because of these magnetic properties.
A shape-memory alloy (SMA) is an alloy that "remembers" its original shape and when deformed returns to its pre-deformed shape when heated. While the shape memory effect had been first observed in 1932, in an Au-Cd alloy, it was not until 1962, with the accidental discovery of the effect in a Ni-Ti alloy that research began in earnest, and another ten years before commercial applications emerged. SMA's have applications in robotics and automotive, aerospace and biomedical industries. There is another type of SMA, called a ferromagnetic shape-memory alloy (FSMA), that changes shape under strong magnetic fields. These materials are of particular interest as the magnetic response tends to be faster and more efficient than temperature-induced responses.
In 1984, Israeli chemist Dan Shechtman found an aluminium-manganese alloy having five-fold symmetry, in breach of crystallographic convention at the time which said that crystalline structures could only have two-, three-, four-, or six-fold symmetry. Due to fear of the scientific community's reaction, it took him two years to publish the results for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2011. Since this time, hundreds of quasicrystals have been reported and confirmed. They exist in many metallic alloys (and some polymers). Quasicrystals are found most often in aluminium alloys (Al-Li-Cu, Al-Mn-Si, Al-Ni-Co, Al-Pd-Mn, Al-Cu-Fe, Al-Cu-V, etc.), but numerous other compositions are also known (Cd-Yb, Ti-Zr-Ni, Zn-Mg-Ho, Zn-Mg-Sc, In-Ag-Yb, Pd-U-Si, etc.). Quasicrystals effectively have infinitely large unit cells. Icosahedrite Al63Cu24Fe13, the first quasicrystal found in nature, was discovered in 2009. Most quasicrystals have ceramic-like properties including low electrical conductivity (approaching values seen in insulators) and low thermal conductivity, high hardness, brittleness, and resistance to corrosion, and non-stick properties. Quasicrystals have been used to develop heat insulation, LEDs, diesel engines, and new materials that convert heat to electricity. New applications may take advantage of the low coefficient of friction and the hardness of some quasicrystalline materials, for example embedding particles in plastic to make strong, hard-wearing, low-friction plastic gears. Other potential applications include selective solar absorbers for power conversion, broad-wavelength reflectors, and bone repair and prostheses applications where biocompatibility, low friction and corrosion resistance are required.
Complex metallic alloys (CMAs) are intermetallic compounds characterized by large unit cells comprising some tens up to thousands of atoms; the presence of well-defined clusters of atoms (frequently with icosahedral symmetry); and partial disorder within their crystalline lattices. They are composed of two or more metallic elements, sometimes with metalloids or chalcogenides added. They include, for example, NaCd2, with 348 sodium atoms and 768 cadmium atoms in the unit cell. Linus Pauling attempted to describe the structure of NaCd2 in 1923, but did not succeed until 1955. At first called "giant unit cell crystals", interest in CMAs, as they came to be called, did not pick up until 2002, with the publication of a paper called "Structurally Complex Alloy Phases", given at the 8th International Conference on Quasicrystals. Potential applications of CMAs include as heat insulation; solar heating; magnetic refrigerators; using waste heat to generate electricity; and coatings for turbine blades in military engines.
High entropy alloys (HEAs) such as AlLiMgScTi are composed of equal or nearly equal quantities of five or more metals. Compared to conventional alloys with only one or two base metals, HEAs have considerably better strength-to-weight ratios, higher tensile strength, and greater resistance to fracturing, corrosion, and oxidation. Although HEAs were described as early as 1981, significant interest did not develop until the 2010s; they continue to be the focus of research in materials science and engineering because of their potential for desirable properties.
In a MAX phase alloy, M is an early transition metal, A is an A group element (mostly group IIIA and IVA, or groups 13 and 14), and X is either carbon or nitrogen. Examples are Hf2SnC and Ti4AlN3. Such alloys have some of the best properties of metals and ceramics. These properties include high electrical and thermal conductivity, thermal shock resistance, damage tolerance, machinability, high elastic stiffness, and low thermal expansion coefficients. They can be polished to a metallic luster because of their excellent electrical conductivities. During mechanical testing, it has been found that polycrystalline Ti3SiC2 cylinders can be repeatedly compressed at room temperature, up to stresses of 1 GPa, and fully recover upon the removal of the load. Some MAX phases are also highly resistant to chemical attack (e.g. Ti3SiC2) and high-temperature oxidation in air (Ti2AlC, Cr2AlC2, and Ti3AlC2). Potential applications for MAX phase alloys include: as tough, machinable, thermal shock-resistant refractories; high-temperature heating elements; coatings for electrical contacts; and neutron irradiation resistant parts for nuclear applications. While MAX phase alloys were discovered in the 1960s, the first paper on the subject was not published until 1996.
Sir Nevill Mott (1905-1996) wrote a letter to a fellow physicist, Prof. Peter P. Edwards, in which he notes...I’ve though a lot about 'What is a metal?' and I think one can only answer the question at T =0 (the absolute zero of temperature). There a metal conducts and a nonmetal doesn’t.
Aluminium or aluminum is a chemical element with symbol Al and atomic number 13. It is a silvery-white, soft, nonmagnetic and ductile metal in the boron group. By mass, aluminium makes up about 8% of the Earth's crust; it is the third most abundant element after oxygen and silicon and the most abundant metal in the crust, though it is less common in the mantle below. The chief ore of aluminium is bauxite. Aluminium metal is so chemically reactive that native specimens are rare and limited to extreme reducing environments. Instead, it is found combined in over 270 different minerals.Aluminium is remarkable for its low density and its ability to resist corrosion through the phenomenon of passivation. Aluminium and its alloys are vital to the aerospace industry and important in transportation and building industries, such as building facades and window frames. The oxides and sulfates are the most useful compounds of aluminium.Despite its prevalence in the environment, no known form of life uses aluminium salts metabolically, but aluminium is well tolerated by plants and animals. Because of these salts' abundance, the potential for a biological role for them is of continuing interest, and studies continue.Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and singer Ozzy Osbourne. Black Sabbath are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with releases such as Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), and Master of Reality (1971). The band had multiple line-up changes, with Iommi being the only constant member throughout its history.
Formed in 1968 as the Polka Tulk Blues Band, a blues rock band, the group went through line up changes, renamed themselves as Earth, broke up and reformed. By 1969, they had named themselves Black Sabbath after the film Black Sabbath starring Boris Karloff, and began incorporating occult themes with horror-inspired lyrics and tuned-down guitars. The band's first show as Black Sabbath took place on 30 August 1969, in Workington. Signing to Philips Records in November 1969, they released their first single, "Evil Woman" in January 1970. Their debut album, Black Sabbath, was released on Friday the 13th, February 1970, on Philips' newly formed progressive rock label, Vertigo Records. Though receiving a negative critical response, the album was a commercial success and reached number 8 in the UK Albums Chart, so the band returned to the studios to quickly record the follow up, Paranoid, which was also released in 1970. The band's popularity grew, and by 1973's Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, critics were starting to respond favourably.
Osbourne's regular use of alcohol and other drugs led to his dismissal from the band in 1979. He was replaced by former Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Following two albums with Dio, Black Sabbath endured many personnel changes in the 1980s and 1990s that included vocalists Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes, Ray Gillen and Tony Martin, as well as several drummers and bassists. In 1991, Iommi and Butler rejoined Dio and drummer Vinny Appice to record Dehumanizer (1992). The original line-up reunited with Osbourne in 1997 and released a live album Reunion. Black Sabbath's final studio album and nineteenth overall, 13 (2013), features all of the original members but Ward, who left the band prior to the recording sessions due to a contract dispute. A year after embarking on a farewell tour, the band played their final concert in their home city of Birmingham on 4 February 2017, after which they broke up. Iommi has stated that he has not ruled out the possibility of new material or one-off shows under the Black Sabbath name.They were ranked by MTV as the "Greatest Metal Band" of all time, and placed second in VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock" list. Rolling Stone magazine ranked them number 85 in their "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". They have sold over 70 million records worldwide. Black Sabbath were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. They have also won two Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance, and in 2019 the band were presented a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.Black metal
Black metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. Common traits include fast tempos, a shrieking vocal style, heavily distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, raw (lo-fi) recording, unconventional song structures, and an emphasis on atmosphere. Artists often appear in corpse paint and adopt pseudonyms.
During the 1980s, several thrash metal and death metal bands formed a prototype for black metal. This so-called first wave included bands such as Venom, Bathory, Mercyful Fate, Hellhammer and Celtic Frost. A second wave arose in the early 1990s, spearheaded by Norwegian bands such as Mayhem, Darkthrone, Burzum, Immortal, Emperor, Satyricon and Gorgoroth. The early Norwegian black metal scene developed the style of their forebears into a distinct genre. Norwegian-inspired black metal scenes emerged throughout Europe and North America, although some other scenes developed their own styles independently. Some prominent Swedish bands spawned during this second wave, such as Marduk, Nifelheim and Dark Funeral.Initially a synonym for "Satanic metal", black metal has often sparked controversy, due to the actions and ideologies associated with the genre. Many artists express extreme anti-Christian and misanthropic views, advocating various forms of Satanism or ethnic paganism. In the 1990s, members of the scene were responsible for a spate of church burnings and murders. There is also a small neo-Nazi movement within black metal, although it has been shunned by many prominent artists. Generally, black metal strives to remain underground, inaccessible to the mainstream and those who are not committed.Copper
Copper is a chemical element with symbol Cu (from Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.
Copper is one of the few metals that can occur in nature in a directly usable metallic form (native metals). This led to very early human use in several regions, from c. 8000 BC. Thousands of years later, it was the first metal to be smelted from sulfide ores, c. 5000 BC, the first metal to be cast into a shape in a mold, c. 4000 BC and the first metal to be purposefully alloyed with another metal, tin, to create bronze, c. 3500 BC.In the Roman era, copper was principally mined on Cyprus, the origin of the name of the metal, from aes сyprium (metal of Cyprus), later corrupted to сuprum (Latin), from which the words derived, coper (Old English) and copper, first used around 1530.The commonly encountered compounds are copper(II) salts, which often impart blue or green colors to such minerals as azurite, malachite, and turquoise, and have been used widely and historically as pigments.
Copper used in buildings, usually for roofing, oxidizes to form a green verdigris (or patina). Copper is sometimes used in decorative art, both in its elemental metal form and in compounds as pigments. Copper compounds are used as bacteriostatic agents, fungicides, and wood preservatives.
Copper is essential to all living organisms as a trace dietary mineral because it is a key constituent of the respiratory enzyme complex cytochrome c oxidase. In molluscs and crustaceans, copper is a constituent of the blood pigment hemocyanin, replaced by the iron-complexed hemoglobin in fish and other vertebrates. In humans, copper is found mainly in the liver, muscle, and bone. The adult body contains between 1.4 and 2.1 mg of copper per kilogram of body weight.Death metal
Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, played with techniques such as palm muting and tremolo picking, deep growling vocals, aggressive, powerful drumming featuring double kick and blast beat techniques, minor keys or atonality, abrupt tempo, key, and time signature changes, and chromatic chord progressions. The lyrical themes of death metal may invoke slasher film-stylized violence, religion (sometimes Satanism), occultism, Lovecraftian horror, nature, mysticism, mythology, philosophy, science fiction, and politics, and they may describe extreme acts, including mutilation, dissection, torture, rape, cannibalism, and necrophilia.
Building from the musical structure of thrash metal and early black metal, death metal emerged during the mid-1980s. Bands such as Venom, Celtic Frost, Slayer, and Kreator were important influences on the genre's creation. Possessed, Death, Necrophagia, Obituary, Autopsy, and Morbid Angel are often considered pioneers of the genre. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, death metal gained more media attention as popular genre. Niche record labels like Combat, Earache, and Roadrunner began to sign death metal bands at a rapid rate.Since then, death metal has diversified, spawning several subgenres. Melodic death metal combines death metal elements with those of the new wave of British heavy metal. Technical death metal is a complex style, with uncommon time signatures, atypical rhythms, and unusual harmonies and melodies. Death-doom combines the deep growled vocals and double-kick drumming of death metal with the slow tempos and melancholic atmosphere of doom metal. Deathgrind, goregrind, and pornogrind mix the complexity of death metal with the intensity, speed, and brevity of grindcore. Deathcore combines death metal with metalcore traits. Death 'n' roll combines death metal's growled vocals and highly distorted, detuned guitar riffs with elements of 1970s hard rock and heavy metal.Fullmetal Alchemist
Fullmetal Alchemist (Japanese: 鋼の錬金術師, Hepburn: Hagane no Renkinjutsushi, lit. "Alchemist of Steel") is a Japanese shōnen manga series written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa. It was serialized in Square Enix's Monthly Shōnen Gangan magazine between August 2001 and June 2010; the publisher later collected the individual chapters into twenty-seven tankōbon volumes. The world of Fullmetal Alchemist is styled after the European Industrial Revolution. Set in a fictional universe in which alchemy is one of the most advanced scientific techniques, the story follows two alchemist brothers named Edward and Alphonse Elric, who are searching for the philosopher's stone to restore their bodies after a failed attempt to bring their mother back to life using alchemy.
The manga was published and localized in English by Viz Media in North America, Madman Entertainment in Australasia, and Chuang Yi in Singapore. Yen Press also has the rights for the digital release of the volumes in North America due to the series being a Square Enix title. It has been adapted into two anime television series, two animated films—all animated by Bones studio—and light novels. Funimation dubbed the television series, films and video games. The series has generated original video animations, video games, supplementary books, a collectible card game, and a variety of action figures and other merchandise. A live action film based on the series was also released in 2017.
The manga has sold over 70 million volumes worldwide, making it one of the best-selling manga series. The English release of the manga's first volume was the top-selling graphic novel during 2005. In two TV Asahi web polls, the anime was voted the most popular anime of all time in Japan. At the American Anime Awards in February 2007, it was eligible for eight awards, nominated for six, and won five. Reviewers from several media conglomerations had positive comments on the series, particularly for its character development, action scenes, symbolism and philosophical references.Gold
Gold is a chemical element with symbol Au (from Latin: aurum) and atomic number 79, making it one of the higher atomic number elements that occur naturally. In its purest form, it is a bright, slightly reddish yellow, dense, soft, malleable, and ductile metal. Chemically, gold is a transition metal and a group 11 element. It is one of the least reactive chemical elements and is solid under standard conditions. Gold often occurs in free elemental (native) form, as nuggets or grains, in rocks, in veins, and in alluvial deposits. It occurs in a solid solution series with the native element silver (as electrum) and also naturally alloyed with copper and palladium. Less commonly, it occurs in minerals as gold compounds, often with tellurium (gold tellurides).
Gold is resistant to most acids, though it does dissolve in aqua regia, a mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid, which forms a soluble tetrachloroaurate anion. Gold is insoluble in nitric acid, which dissolves silver and base metals, a property that has long been used to refine gold and to confirm the presence of gold in metallic objects, giving rise to the term acid test. Gold also dissolves in alkaline solutions of cyanide, which are used in mining and electroplating. Gold dissolves in mercury, forming amalgam alloys, but this is not a chemical reaction.
A relatively rare element, gold is a precious metal that has been used for coinage, jewelry, and other arts throughout recorded history. In the past, a gold standard was often implemented as a monetary policy, but gold coins ceased to be minted as a circulating currency in the 1930s, and the world gold standard was abandoned for a fiat currency system after 1971.
A total of 186,700 tonnes of gold exists above ground, as of 2015. The world consumption of new gold produced is about 50% in jewelry, 40% in investments, and 10% in industry. Gold's high malleability, ductility, resistance to corrosion and most other chemical reactions, and conductivity of electricity have led to its continued use in corrosion resistant electrical connectors in all types of computerized devices (its chief industrial use). Gold is also used in infrared shielding, colored-glass production, gold leafing, and tooth restoration. Certain gold salts are still used as anti-inflammatories in medicine. As of 2017, the world's largest gold producer by far was China with 440 tonnes per year.Heavy metal music
Heavy metal (or simply metal) is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.In 1968, three of the genre's most famous pioneers, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple were founded. Though they came to attract wide audiences, they were often derided by critics. During the mid-1970s, Judas Priest helped spur the genre's evolution by discarding much of its blues influence; Motörhead introduced a punk rock sensibility and an increasing emphasis on speed. Beginning in the late 1970s, bands in the new wave of British heavy metal such as Iron Maiden and Def Leppard followed in a similar vein. Before the end of the decade, heavy metal fans became known as "metalheads" or "headbangers".
During the 1980s, glam metal became popular with groups such as Bon Jovi and Mötley Crüe. Underground scenes produced an array of more aggressive styles: thrash metal broke into the mainstream with bands such as Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax, while other extreme subgenres of heavy metal such as death metal and black metal remain subcultural phenomena. Since the mid-1990s popular styles have further expanded the definition of the genre. These include groove metal and nu metal, the latter of which often incorporates elements of grunge and hip hop.Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The band's discography has grown to thirty-eight albums, including sixteen studio albums, twelve live albums, four EPs, and seven compilations.
Pioneers of the new wave of British heavy metal, Iron Maiden achieved initial success during the early 1980s. After several line-up changes, the band went on to release a series of UK and US platinum and gold albums, including 1982's The Number of the Beast, 1983's Piece of Mind, 1984's Powerslave, 1985's live release Live After Death, 1986's Somewhere in Time and 1988's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Since the return of lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson and guitarist Adrian Smith in 1999, the band have undergone a resurgence in popularity, with their 2010 studio offering, The Final Frontier, peaking at No. 1 in 28 countries and receiving widespread critical acclaim. Their sixteenth studio album, The Book of Souls, was released on 4 September 2015 to similar success.
Despite little radio or television support, Iron Maiden are considered one of the most successful heavy metal bands in history, with The Sunday Times reporting in 2017 that the band have sold over 100 million copies of their albums worldwide. The band won the Ivor Novello Award for international achievement in 2002. As of October 2013, the band have played over 2000 live shows throughout their career. For over 35 years the band have been supported by their famous mascot, "Eddie", who has appeared on almost all of their album and single covers, as well as in their live shows.Judas Priest
Judas Priest are an English heavy metal band formed in West Bromwich in 1969. The band has sold over 50 million copies of their albums to date. They are frequently ranked as one of the greatest metal bands of all time. Despite an innovative and pioneering body of work in the latter half of the 1970s, the band struggled with indifferent record production and lack of major commercial success or attention until 1980, when they adopted a more simplified sound on the album British Steel, which helped shoot them to rock superstar status.
The band's membership has seen much turnover, including a revolving cast of drummers in the 1970s, and the temporary departure of singer Rob Halford in the early 1990s. The current line-up consists of Halford, bassist Ian Hill, guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner, and drummer Scott Travis. The band's best-selling album is 1982's Screaming for Vengeance with their most commercially successful line-up, featuring Hill, Halford, Tipton, guitarist K. K. Downing, and drummer Dave Holland. Tipton and Hill are the only two members of the band to appear on every album.
Halford's operatic vocal style and the twin guitar sound of Downing and Tipton have been a major influence on metal and have been adopted by many bands. Their image of leather, spikes, and other taboo articles of clothing were widely influential during the glam metal era of the 1980s. The Guardian referred to British Steel as the record that defines heavy metal. Despite a decline in exposure during the mid 1990s, the band has once again seen a resurgence, including worldwide tours, being inaugural inductees into the VH1 Rock Honors in 2006, receiving a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2010, and their songs featured in video games such as Guitar Hero and the Rock Band series.Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is commonly known as quicksilver and was formerly named hydrargyrum ( hy-DRAR-jər-əm). A heavy, silvery d-block element, mercury is the only metallic element that is liquid at standard conditions for temperature and pressure; the only other element that is liquid under these conditions is the halogen bromine, though metals such as caesium, gallium, and rubidium melt just above room temperature.
Mercury occurs in deposits throughout the world mostly as cinnabar (mercuric sulfide). The red pigment vermilion is obtained by grinding natural cinnabar or synthetic mercuric sulfide.
Mercury is used in thermometers, barometers, manometers, sphygmomanometers, float valves, mercury switches, mercury relays, fluorescent lamps and other devices, though concerns about the element's toxicity have led to mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers being largely phased out in clinical environments in favor of alternatives such as alcohol- or galinstan-filled glass thermometers and thermistor- or infrared-based electronic instruments. Likewise, mechanical pressure gauges and electronic strain gauge sensors have replaced mercury sphygmomanometers.
Mercury remains in use in scientific research applications and in amalgam for dental restoration in some locales. It is also used in fluorescent lighting. Electricity passed through mercury vapor in a fluorescent lamp produces short-wave ultraviolet light, which then causes the phosphor in the tube to fluoresce, making visible light.
Mercury poisoning can result from exposure to water-soluble forms of mercury (such as mercuric chloride or methylmercury), by inhalation of mercury vapor, or by ingesting any form of mercury.Metal Gear
Metal Gear (Japanese: メタルギア, Hepburn: Metaru Gia) is a series of action-adventure stealth video games created by Hideo Kojima and developed and published by Konami. The first game, Metal Gear, was released in 1987 for MSX home computers. The player often takes control of a special forces operative (usually Solid Snake or Big Boss), who is assigned the task of finding the titular superweapon "Metal Gear", a bipedal walking tank with the ability to launch nuclear weapons. Liquid Snake, Solid's twin brother, appears as an antagonist taking control of U.S. special forces unit FOXHOUND.
Several sequels have been released for multiple consoles, which have expanded the original game's plot, adding characters opposing and supporting Snake, while there have also been a few prequels exploring the origins of Metal Gear and recurring characters. The third game in the series, Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation, marked the beginning of a whole new line of 3D for Metal Gear. As of March 2018, over 53.8 million copies of games in the franchise have been sold worldwide, with individual installments critically and commercially acclaimed and receiving several awards.
The series is credited for pioneering and popularizing stealth video games and "cinematic video games". Notable traits of the series include stealth mechanics, cinematic cutscenes, intricate storylines, offbeat and fourth wall humour, and exploration of cyberpunk, dystopian, political and philosophical themes, with references to Hollywood films to add flavor. The franchise has also been adapted into other media, such as comics, novels, and drama CDs. Solid Snake also appeared as a guest character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.Metallica
Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California by drummer Lars Ulrich and vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield, and has been based in San Francisco, California for most of its career. The group's fast tempos, instrumentals and aggressive musicianship made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Metallica's current lineup comprises founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo. Guitarist Dave Mustaine (who went on to form Megadeth) and bassists Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted are former members of the band.
Metallica earned a growing fan base in the underground music community and won critical acclaim with its first five albums. The band's third album, Master of Puppets (1986), was described as one of the heaviest and most influential thrash metal albums; its eponymous fifth album, Metallica (1991), the band's first to root predominantly in heavy metal, appealed to a more mainstream audience, achieving substantial commercial success and selling over 16 million copies in the United States to date, making it the best-selling album of the SoundScan era. After experimenting with different genres and directions in subsequent releases, the band returned to its thrash metal roots with the release of its ninth album, Death Magnetic (2008), which drew similar praise to that of the band's earlier albums.
In 2000, Metallica led the case against the peer-to-peer file sharing service Napster, in which the band and several other artists filed lawsuits against the service for sharing their copyright-protected material without consent; after reaching a settlement, Napster became a pay-to-use service in 2003. Metallica was the subject of the acclaimed 2004 documentary film Some Kind of Monster, which documented the troubled production of the band's eighth album, St. Anger (2003), and the internal struggles within the band at the time. In 2009, Metallica was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band wrote the screenplay for and starred in the 2013 IMAX concert film Metallica: Through the Never, in which the band performed live against a fictional thriller storyline.
Metallica has released ten studio albums, four live albums, a cover album, five extended plays, 37 singles and 39 music videos. The band has won nine Grammy Awards from 23 nominations, and its last six studio albums (beginning with Metallica) have consecutively debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. Metallica ranks as one of the most commercially successful bands of all time, having sold over 125 million albums worldwide as of 2018. Metallica has been listed as one of the greatest artists of all time by magazines such as Rolling Stone, which ranked them at no. 61 on its 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list. As of 2017, Metallica is the third best-selling music artist since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991, selling a total of 58 million albums in the United States.Nu metal
Nu metal (also known as nü-metal and aggro-metal) is a subgenre of alternative metal that combines elements of heavy metal music with elements of other music genres such as hip hop, alternative rock, funk, industrial, and grunge. Nu metal bands have drawn elements and influences from a variety of musical styles, including multiple genres of heavy metal. Nu metal rarely features guitar solos; the genre is heavily syncopated and based on guitar riffs. Many nu metal guitarists use seven-string guitars that are down-tuned to play a heavier sound. DJs are occasionally featured in nu metal to provide instrumentation such as sampling, turntable scratching and electronic backgrounds. Vocal styles in nu metal include singing, rapping, screaming and growling. Nu metal is one of the key genres of the new wave of American heavy metal.
Nu metal became popular in the late 1990s with bands and artists such as Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Kid Rock all releasing albums that sold millions of copies. Nu metal's popularity continued during the early 2000s, with bands such as Papa Roach, Staind, and P.O.D. all selling multi-platinum albums, and came to a peak with Linkin Park's diamond-selling album Hybrid Theory. However, by the mid-2000s, the oversaturation of bands combined with the under-performance of a number of high-profile releases led to nu metal's decline, leading to the rise of metalcore and many nu metal bands disbanding or abandoning their established sound in favor of other genres.
During the 2010s, there has been a minor nu metal revival; many bands that combine nu metal with other genres (for example, metalcore) emerged and some nu metal bands from the 1990s and early 2000s returned to the nu metal sound.Pantera
Pantera () was an American heavy metal band from Arlington, Texas. The group was formed in 1981 by the Abbott brothers – drummer Vinnie Paul and guitarist Dimebag Darrell – along with lead vocalist Terry Glaze. Bassist Rex Brown joined the band the following year, replacing Tommy D. Bradford, who was the unofficial original. Having started as a glam metal band, Pantera released four albums during the 1980s. Looking for a new and heavier sound, Pantera replaced Glaze with Phil Anselmo in late 1986 and released Power Metal in 1988. With its fifth album, 1990's Cowboys from Hell, Pantera introduced a groove metal sound. Pantera's sixth album, 1992's Vulgar Display of Power, exhibited an even heavier sound. Far Beyond Driven (1994) debuted at number one on the Billboard 200.Tensions began to surface among the band members when Anselmo became addicted to heroin in 1995; he almost died from an overdose in 1996. These tensions resulted in the recording sessions for The Great Southern Trendkill (1996) being held separately. The ongoing tension lasted for another seven years, during which only one studio album, Reinventing the Steel (2000), was recorded. Pantera went on hiatus in 2001 but was disbanded by the Abbott brothers in 2003 amid communication problems and their conclusion that Anselmo would not return to the band.
The Abbott brothers went on to form Damageplan, while Anselmo continued work on several side projects, including Down, which Rex Brown joined as well. Any hopes for a reunion were lost on December 8, 2004 when Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed on stage by a mentally unstable fan during a Damageplan concert in Columbus, Ohio. Vinnie Paul died of heart failure in 2018, leaving Glaze and Brown as the only surviving members of the band's original line-up.Silver
Silver is a chemical element with symbol Ag (from the Latin argentum, derived from the Proto-Indo-European h₂erǵ: "shiny" or "white") and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it exhibits the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and reflectivity of any metal. The metal is found in the Earth's crust in the pure, free elemental form ("native silver"), as an alloy with gold and other metals, and in minerals such as argentite and chlorargyrite. Most silver is produced as a byproduct of copper, gold, lead, and zinc refining.
Silver has long been valued as a precious metal. Silver metal is used in many bullion coins, sometimes alongside gold: while it is more abundant than gold, it is much less abundant as a native metal. Its purity is typically measured on a per-mille basis; a 94%-pure alloy is described as "0.940 fine". As one of the seven metals of antiquity, silver has had an enduring role in most human cultures.
Other than in currency and as an investment medium (coins and bullion), silver is used in solar panels, water filtration, jewellery, ornaments, high-value tableware and utensils (hence the term silverware), in electrical contacts and conductors, in specialized mirrors, window coatings, in catalysis of chemical reactions, as a colorant in stained glass and in specialised confectionery. Its compounds are used in photographic and X-ray film. Dilute solutions of silver nitrate and other silver compounds are used as disinfectants and microbiocides (oligodynamic effect), added to bandages and wound-dressings, catheters, and other medical instruments.Slayer
Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California. The band was formed in 1981 by vocalist and bassist Tom Araya and guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. Slayer's fast and aggressive musical style made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax. Slayer's current lineup comprises King, Araya, drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt. Hanneman and drummers Dave Lombardo and Jon Dette are former members of the band.
In the original line-up, King, Hanneman and Araya contributed to the band's lyrics, and all of the band's music was written by King and Hanneman. The band's lyrics and album art, which cover topics such as murder, serial killers, necrophilia, torture, genocide, human experimentation, Satanism, hate crimes, terrorism, religion, antireligion, Nazism and war, have generated album bans, delays, lawsuits and criticism from religious groups and factions of the general public. However, its music has been highly influential, often being cited by many bands as an influence musically, visually and lyrically; the band's third album, Reign in Blood (1986), was described as one of the heaviest and most influential thrash metal albums.
Slayer has released twelve studio albums, two live albums, a box set, six music videos, two extended plays and a cover album. Four of the band's studio albums have received gold certification in the United States. The band has received five Grammy Award nominations, winning one in 2007 for the song "Eyes of the Insane" and one in 2008 for the song "Final Six", both of which were from the album Christ Illusion (2006). Between 1991 and 2013, the band sold five million albums in the United States. After 37 years of recording and performing, Slayer announced in January 2018 that they would embark on their final world tour, which began that May and is estimated to wrap up in 2019 or 2020.Slipknot (band)
Slipknot is an American heavy metal band from Des Moines, Iowa. The band was founded in 1995 by percussionist Shawn Crahan, drummer Joey Jordison and bassist Paul Gray. After several lineup changes in its early years, the band settled on nine members for more than a decade: Shawn Crahan, Joey Jordison, Paul Gray, Corey Taylor, Mick Thomson, Jim Root, Craig Jones, Sid Wilson, and Chris Fehn. Gray died on May 24, 2010, and was replaced during 2011–2014 by guitarist Donnie Steele. Jordison left the band due to illness on December 12, 2013. Steele left during the recording sessions for .5: The Gray Chapter. The band found replacements in Alessandro Venturella on bass and Jay Weinberg on drums. After the departure of Jordison, as of December 2013 the only founding member in the current lineup is percussionist Crahan.
Slipknot is well known for its attention-grabbing image, aggressive style of music, and energetic and chaotic live shows. The band rapidly rose to success following the release of their eponymous debut album in 1999. The 2001 follow-up album, Iowa, although darker in tone, made the band more popular. After a brief hiatus, Slipknot returned in 2004 with Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses), before going on another hiatus and returning in 2008 with its fourth album, All Hope Is Gone, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart. After another long hiatus, Slipknot released its fifth studio album, .5: The Gray Chapter, in 2014. The band has released two live albums titled 9.0: Live and Day of the Gusano: Live in Mexico, a compilation album titled Antennas to Hell, and five live DVDs. The band has sold 30 million records worldwide.Thrash metal
Thrash metal (or simply thrash) is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work. The lyrics often deal with social issues and criticism of The Establishment, using direct and denunciatory language, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.
The genre evolved in the early 1980s from combining the fast drum beats and attitude of hardcore with the double bass drumming and heavy, complex guitar style of the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM). It emerged partially as a reaction to the more conventional and widely acceptable glam metal, a less aggressive, pop music–infused heavy metal subgenre which appeared simultaneously. Thrash metal was an inspiration for subsequent extreme genres such as death metal and black metal.
Metals–metalloids–nonmetals in the periodic table
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