For an explanation, see the main splats page
The principles of metals
- A metal is malleable and usually ductile, metals have good conductivity: they also have a lustre, they conduct heat and electricity, and form positive ions.
- A simple form of iron is cast iron, but this is less valuable than steel, which is far more useful both for tools and weapons, and also in construction.
- Most metals are found as compounds called ores: one ancient source of pure iron ore is bog iron, which was exploited by the Vikings, among others.
- Most metals are affected by corrosion, particularly those high on the activity series, though a few like aluminium can be protected by a tough coating of oxide.
- Galvanized iron does not rust when it is scratched, but tinplate rusts readily, reflecting the different reactivities of zinc and tin, compared with iron.
- Cathodic protection depends on metals having different tendencies to be oxidized: a zinc block attached to a hull will protect a steel ship from corrosion.
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