Have You Ever Thought: How Is Metal Made? Pure Metal Facts For Kids!

Anusuya Mukherjee
Oct 10, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Oct 23, 2021
Metal craft making with professional tools.

In terms of chemistry, metals are elements that lose an electron to form bonds.

Be it construction by wrought iron or precious gold jewelry, metal is found and used in almost everything. The foundation of human construction is based on metals.

Metals like iron, copper, aluminum, gold, silver, platinum, zinc, and nickel are widely used materials that occur in most alloys and are used as materials in construction, industry, and jewelry.

Metals that contain iron elements or materials like pig iron or carbon steel are called ferrous metals. They are often obtained from rock structures in nature that separate out from the impurities when they are molten or smelted.

Alloys like bronze, steel, and gold are usually made by mixing metals with one another to increase the strength of the substance.

Steel, or stainless steel, is an alloy that is usually obtained in two ways. In the blast furnace step, the iron ore, limestone, and coke are smelted together to form pig iron.

Once the impurities after the blast furnace are removed, then the shiny alloy is obtained. Similarly, cast iron production is also obtained from pig iron when the metal ore material is smelted in the cupola furnace. Galvanized metal is obtained when steel is dipped in molten zinc material to provide an erosion-resisting cover.

This process is called galvanization. Metal jewelry involves the use and production of costly metals like gold, silver, platinum, and others.

If you find our content interesting, then do check out how is paint made and how is paper made!

The Process Of Making Expanded Metal

Expanded metals essentially refer to metallic compounds or alloys that are produced after a metal undergoes a complete transformation via the expanding machine. In this process, various different metal products like sheets and coils are transformed into a metal mesh which is then used in various industrial works.

Before we understand the process of production of expanded metals, let us first understand what expanded metal is. Expanded metal is a type of sheet metal that is essentially pressurized, beaten, and stretched to make it thinner.

Pretty light and thin in comparison to other industrial-grade metal forms, expanded metals are very easy to move.

The texture and the tensile strength of the expanded metals remain very high, thus making them versatile and durable metal forms that play a vital role in building supports and structures.

As the expanded metal is flattened out, it maintains the metal or the alloy to stay fixed. Since these metals are stretched and not cut from the original sheet metals, the structural integrity of the metal sheet remains intact, thereby retaining its strength, tensile nature.

Expanded metals are made in quite a few shapes like circles, diamonds, and squares. Be it different types of steel or stainless steel, expanded metals are cheap, light, and strong in comparison to metal and wire meshes.

These are predominantly used in building structures like gateways, fences, and other similar objects.

Now let us take a close look at how the expanded metal is made. The process of expanding metals involves steps of slitting and stretching. From a metal sheet, the metal is, at first, slit, and then it is stretched, and this process continues until a thin spread of metal is obtained, which essentially becomes the expanded metal.

Sheet Metal Manufacturing Steps

The process of manufacturing sheet metals involves many steps like curling, bending, cutting, punching, and other essential steps which ultimately lead to the making of the final product, sheet metals.

Understanding the steps involved in the manufacture of sheet metals will become easy once we understand what sheet metal is, along with how and why it is important in our lives.

Sheet metal is one of the most important parts that constitute the building blocks of industry-grade construction. Metal chunks or bars which when undergoing industrial processing become flat and thin parts are called sheet metal.

The constituent of the sheet metal can involve both metal or alloys, and thus substances like steel, iron, copper, or brass are extensively used in today's world.

Though sheet metal is thin, its tensile strength is however not compromised and can easily support major construction works. One of the most important and beneficial advantages of sheet metal is its ability to bend and thus can be easily formed in any suitable shape.

Sheet metal finds its usage in housing panels, car parts, construction supports, and heavy machinery works.

The process of making sheet metal is comparably easy, and there are six major ways in which sheet metal is usually processed nowadays. The first common method is known as curling, and in this process, the sharp and dangerous edges of the metals are deburred, and thus smooth edges are produced.

Bending is the second way, and in this process, just like its name, the metal sheet is applied a significantly high amount of force by a machine press, and the metal sheet bends into its appropriate thin structure.

The third process is ironing, the metal is placed between two dies, and metal in between is punched with a significant amount of force, thereby ensuring the final sheet metal acquires uniform thickness. In the method of laser cutting, a high-powered laser is used to cut or slice big blocks of metal into thin tiny pieces of sheet metal.

This process is speedy and quite reliable.

The last two processes are hydroforming and rolling.

In the former, a hydroforming press is used where the metal block is placed on the die or cast, and with the help of a hydroforming press, the metal block or bar is pressed and made into thin sheets of metal, while in the latter, the metal structures are made to pass under different types of rolls thereby ensuring that a uniform thickness of the metal sheet is obtained.

CNC Laser cutting of metal.

The Way Metal Foam Is Made

Metal foam is manufactured in two different ways, the open-cell process, and the closed-cell process. Both the processes are unique and completely different from one another. Along with the above two processes in forming metal foam, with a slight tweak in chemistry, composite metal foam is also obtained via these processes.

In terms of molecular chemistry, metal foam can be defined as a substance that essentially is composed of metals and is known to contain pores.

From these pores inside the solid metal, gases are injected, and then they are sealed. The presence of the gas from the pores subsequently changes the allotropy of the metal compound or the alloy without compromising the structural strength as the surface area increases by leaps and bounds.

Metal foam is often seen in aeronautical works that are used in spacecraft as well as a means of testing conductant.

The primary technique involves injecting gases inside the pores, and that can be carried out in a couple of ways, like injecting gas from an external source inside the liquid form of the metal. Another way involves precipitating gas molecules inside a liquid metal.

How is metal flake made?

While metal flakes are basically metallic paint, they do have an interesting manufacturing process. In general, the commercialized aluminum flake is usually produced from milling or stamping appropriately bright and pure aluminum sheet that has suitable mechanical properties. The flakes are then collected after being graded.

Different Types Of Metal

Pure metals have been on Earth ever since their creation, and with every passing day, new synthetic metals are being experimentally created. Naturally occurring rock metals like gold, silver, nickel, platinum, chromium, aluminum, copper, and zinc are said to have been created on Earth around 4.54 billion years ago.

The formation of our planet is really fascinating as the Earth is said to have been created from the sun. Under such high temperatures and molten nature, atoms would have been repelled away from one another and would burst out under high pressure.

Once the temperatures cooled down, the atoms would constrict and thus leading to the formation of new elements, compounds, metals, non-metals.

The Earth's crust has a wide range of metals and ores. Ores are impure chemical substances from which metals are extracted by different processes.

Ores appear all over the earth's crust, and each metal has its own ore, for example, iron ore for iron.

The impurities in these ores are usually oxides, a commonly used oxide mixture of the metal. A metal element commonly showcases many properties like being very good conductors of heat and electricity, many chemical properties where they lose electrons to form bonds, being sonorous as well as having a shiny look, and lastly, having some magnetic properties.

In the present day, in an effort to increase the strength of a metal, elements often more than two are mixed together to form an alloy. Bronze, nichrome, cast iron, wrought iron, stainless steel, and other types of steel are some of the relatively best examples of an alloy that is widely used in today's world.

These alloys often don't retain metallic properties and thus don't pass electric current and magnetic properties like any non-metal element.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how is metal made, then why not take a look at why do people like spicy food, and why do we stretch!

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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