Product Design AS Metals

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Types Of Metal

Ferrous Metals:

  • Cast Irons
  • Mild Steel
  • Medium Carbon Steel
  • High Carbon Steel

Non-Ferrous Metals:

  • Aluminium
  • Copper
  • Lead
  • Tin
  • Zinc
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Types Of Alloys

Ferrous Alloys:

  • Stainless Steel
  • High Speed Steel
  • Die (Tool) Steel

Non-Ferrous Alloys:

  • Brass
  • Bronze
  • Duralumin
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Sources Of Metal

Gold is the ONLY metal that is found in a usable form, all others are found as ores.

Metal:                                                Ore:                         

Iron                                                    Magnetite,Haematite                                 

Copper                                               Chalcopyrite

Aluminium                                           Bauxite

Lead                                                   Galena

Tin                                                     Cassiterite

Zinc                                                    Zinc Blende

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The Structure Of Metals

  • Made up of crystals.
  • Each crystal has a boundary that is firmly bonded to the boundary of the neighbouring crystal.
  • The nature of the crystal depends on the material.
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Ferrous Metals: Iron and Steel

  • Iron is produced directly from its ore through the use of a blast furnace. The material produced is called 'pig iron' and is not of sufficient high quality to be of any commercial use.
  • Pig iron is converted into steel by the introduction of carbon into its structure. This is carried out in an oxygen furnace.
  • An alternative steel-making process is the electric arc furnace- more often used in the production of specialist steels.
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Iron and Carbon


  • Soft
  • Ductile


  • Hard
  • Brittle

When mixed together the properties of iron are greatly improved.

Increasing carbon content:-

  • Becomes harder
  • Toughness reduces
  • Both medium and high carbon steel can be heat-treated to make then stronger and harder.
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Mild Steel

Base Material                                  Iron

Additional element,carbon              <0.3%

Ductility                                           High

Hardness                                         Low

Toughness                                       High

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Medium Carbon Steel

Base Material                                     Iron

Additional element, carbon                  0.3-0.6%

Ductility                                             Lower than mild steel

Hardness                                           Higher than mild steel

Toughness                                         Lower than mild steel

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High Carbon Steel

Base Material                                  Iron

Additional element, carbon                0.6-1.7%

Ductility                                           Lower than medium carbon steel

Hardness                                         Higher than medium carbon steel

Toughness                                       Lower than medium carbon steel

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Cast Iron

Base Material                                    Iron

Additional element, carbon               3.5%

Ductility                                             Low

Hardness                                           High

Toughness                                         Brittle

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Typical Uses Of Steels

Mild Steel

Nuts, bolts, washers, car bodies, panels for cookers and other white goods

Medium Carbon Steel

Springs and general gardening tools

High Carbon Steel

Hand tools, scribers, dot punches, chisels and plane blades

Cast iron

Machine parts, brake discs and engines

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The most common metal in the Earth's crust- can be made into aluminium using electrolysis.

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Melting Temperature - 660

Properties - 

  • Excellent conductor of electricity

Uses -

  • Kitchenware e.g. saucepans
  • When drawn into wire used in overhead power cables
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Melting Temperature - 1083

Uses -

  • Electrical contacts
  • Domestic pipework
  • In wire form it is used for electrical cable and wire
  • Jewellery
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