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METALS Architect John C.



is a metal extracted mainly from the iron ore hematite. It oxidizes readily in air and water to form Fe2O3 and is rarely found as a free element. In order to obtain elemental iron, oxygen and other impurities must be removed by chemical reduction. The properties of iron can be modified by alloying it with various other metals and some non-metals, notably carbon and silicon to form steels. Iron is believed to be the sixth most abundant element in the universe


is the intermediate product of smelting iron ore with coke and resin. Pig iron has a very high carbon content, typically 3.5 - 4.5%,[1] which makes it very brittle and not useful directly as a material except for limited applications. The Chinese were making pig iron by the later Zhou Dynasty (1122 BC - 256 BC). In Europe, the process did not become common until the 14th century.

Cast iron

usually refers to grey cast iron, but identifies a large group of ferrous alloys, which solidify with a eutectic. The color of a fractured surface can be used to identify an alloy. White cast iron is named after its white surface when fractured due to its carbide impurities which allow cracks to pass straight through. Grey cast iron is named after its grey fractured surface, which occurs because the graphitic flakes deflect a passing crack and initiate countless new cracks as the material breaks. The major use of cast iron for structural purposes began in the late 1770s when Abraham Darby III built the Iron Bridge, although short beams had been used prior to the bridge, such as in the blast furnaces at Coalbrookdale. This was followed by others, including Thomas Paine, who patented one; cast iron bridges became common as the Industrial Revolution gathered pace.

Wrought iron

is commercially pure iron. In contrast to steel, it has a very low carbon content. It is a fibrous material due to the slag inclusions (a normal constituent). This is also what gives it a "grain" resembling wood, which is visible when it is etched or bent to the point of failure. Wrought iron is tough, malleable, ductile and easily welded. Examples of items that used to be produced from wrought iron include: rivets, chains, railway couplings, water and steam pipes, raw material for manufacturing of steel, nuts, bolts, horseshoes, handrails, straps for timber roof trusses, boiler tubes, and ornamental ironwork.

Galvanized Iron

Galvanization or galvanisation refers to any of several electrochemical processes named after the Italian scientist Luigi Galvani. It is the process of coating iron or steel with a thin zinc layer, by passing the steel through a molten bath of zinc at a temperature of around 860 F (460 C). When exposed to the atmosphere, pure zinc reacts with oxygen to form zinc oxide, which further reacts with carbon dioxide to form zinc carbonate, a dull grey, fairly strong material that stops further corrosion in many circumstances, protecting the steel below from the elements.

is an alloy consisting mostly of iron, with a carbon content between 0.2 and 2.04% by weight, depending on grade. Carbon is the most cost-effective alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten.[1] Carbon and other elements act as a hardening agent, preventing dislocations in the iron atom crystal lattice from sliding past one another. Steel with increased carbon content can be made harder and stronger than iron, but is also more brittle.

Carbon steel,

also called plain carbon steel, is a metal alloy, a combination of two elements, iron and carbon, where other elements are present in quantities too small to affect the properties. The only other alloying elements allowed in plain-carbon steel are manganese (1.65% max), silicon (0.60% max), and copper (0.60% max).[1] Steel with a low carbon content has the same properties as iron, soft but easily formed. As carbon content rises, the metal becomes harder and stronger but less ductile and more difficult to weld. Higher carbon content lowers steel's melting point and its temperature resistance in general.

Stainless steel

is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 11.5 wt% chromium content.[1] Stainless steel does not stain, corrode or rust as easily as ordinary steel (it "stains less"), but it is not stain-proof. It is also called corrosion resistant steel when the alloy type and grade are not detailed, particularly in the aviation industry. There are different grades and surface finishes of stainless steel to suit the environment to which the material will be subjected in its lifetime. Common uses of stainless steel are cutlery and watch straps.

HSLA steel (high strength low alloy steel)

is a type of steel alloy that provides many benefits over regular steel alloys. In general, HSLA alloys are much stronger and tougher than ordinary plain-carbon steels. They are used in cars, trucks, cranes, bridges, and other structures that are designed to handle large amounts of stress, often at very low temperatures. HSLA steels are also more resistant to rust than most carbon steels, due to their lack of pearlite the fine layers of ferrite (almost pure iron) and cementite in pearlite. The Angel of the North at Gateshead, England is a well known example of an unpainted HSLA structure (the actual alloy used is called COR-TEN and includes a small amount of copper). HSLA steels usually have densities of around 7800 kg/m. HSLA steels do however have limited ductility, when compared to mild steels.

Weathering steel

best-known under the trademark COR-TEN steel, is a group of steel alloys which were developed to obviate the need for painting, and form a stable rust-like appearance if exposed to the weather for several years. Tool steel refers to a variety of carbon and alloy steels that are particularly well-suited to be made into tools. Their suitability comes from their distinctive hardness, resistance to abrasion, their ability to hold a cutting edge, and/or their resistance to deformation at elevated temperatures (red-hardness). With a carbon content between 0.7% and 1.4%, tool steels are manufactured under carefully controlled conditions to produce the required quality. The manganese content is often kept low to minimise the possibility of cracking during water quenching. However, proper heat treating of these steels is important for adequate performance, and there are many suppliers who provide tooling blanks intended for oil quenching.

Aluminium is a soft, durable, lightweight, malleable metal with appearance ranging from silvery to dull gray, depending on the surface roughness. Aluminium is nontoxic, nonmagnetic, and nonsparking. It is also insoluble in alcohol, though it can be soluble in water in certain forms.

Aluminum Is Corrosion-Resistant, Lightweight

Aluminum is also corrosion-resistant. In fact, it is so corrosionresistant that in most environments, aluminum requires no protective finishes. In highly corrosive environments such as marine applications, specially formulated aluminum alloys have been developed to enhance the anti-corrosive performance. And, aluminum is light in weight. Buildings benefit from light but strong materials such as aluminum because less of the buildings structure is expended in supporting its own weight. Buildings in seismically active zones benefit from reduced weight even more since seismic forces are proportional to the weight of the structure.

In the Earth's crust, aluminium is the most abundant (8.13%) metallic element, and the third most abundant of all elements (after oxygen and silicon). However, because of its strong affinity to oxygen, it is almost never found in the elemental state; instead it is found in oxides or silicates. Feldspars, the most common group of minerals in the earth's crust, are aluminosilicates. Native aluminium metal can be found as a minor phase in low oxygen fugacity environments, such as the interiors of Coppers Patina Adds Character to a certain volcanoes.[


Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu (Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with excellent electrical conductivity and is rather supple in its pure state and has a pinkish luster which is (beside gold) unusual for metals which are normally silvery white. It finds use as a heat conductor, an electrical conductor, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys. Copper has played a significant part in the history of mankind, which has used

Yet another reason copper is increasing in popularity is its character or personality. As a result of natural weathering, copper develops a patina. As it ages, the patina continually takes on new color characteristics and further enhances the look of a building. The final color depends on geographic location and atmospheric conditions. In general, however, copper changes in hue from its natural bright penny color through a progression of russet browns, grays and finally to a blue-green or gray-green patina. Copper is also a highly malleable metal that is easily fabricated. This provides architects with more design flexibility and freedom of expression because they can often do things with copper that they cant always do with other metals.

the easily accessible uncompounded metal for thousands of years. Several early civilizations have early evidence of using copper. During the Roman Empire, copper was principally mined on Cyprus, hence the origin of the name of the metal as Cyprium, "metal of Cyprus", later shortened to Cuprum.


is any alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.[1] In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin.[2] Despite this distinction, some types of brasses are called bronzes. Brass is a substitutional alloy. It is used for decoration for its bright gold-like appearance; for applications where low friction is required such as locks, gears, bearings, ammunition, and valves; for plumbing and electrical applications; and extensively in musical instruments such as horns and bells for its acoustic properties. Brass has a muted yellow color, somewhat similar to gold. It is relatively resistant to tarnishing, and is often used as decoration and for coins. In antiquity, polished brass was often used as a mirror.


has a dull luster and is a dense, ductile, very soft, highly malleable, bluish-white metal that has poor electrical conductivity. This true metal is highly resistant to corrosion, and because of this property, it is used to contain corrosive liquids (e.g. sulfuric acid). Because lead is very malleable and resistant to corrosion it is extensively used in building construction e.g. external coverings of roofing joints. Lead can be toughened by adding a small amount of antimony or other metals to it. Lead (pronounced /ld/) is a main group element with a symbol Pb (Latin: plumbum).

Tungsten carbide

WC, or tungsten semicarbide, W2C, is a chemical compound containing tungsten and carbon, similar to titanium carbide. Colloquially, tungsten carbide is often simply called carbide. Carbide cutting surfaces are often useful when machining through materials such as carbon steel or stainless steel, as well as in situations where other tools would wear away, such as high-quantity production runs. Tungsten carbide is used as the rotating ball in the tips of ballpoint pens to disperse ink during writing[14]. Tungsten carbide can now be found in the inventory of some jewelers, most notably as the primary material in men's wedding bands. When used in this application the bands appear with a lustrous dark hue often buffed to a mirror finish. The finish is highly resistant to scratches and scuffs, holding its mirror-like shine for years. [15] METAL JOINERY Soldering is a process in which two or more metal items are joined together by melting and flowing a filler metal into the joint, the filler metal having a relatively low melting point. (below 840deg F) Brazing is a joining process whereby a filler metal or alloy is heated to melting temperature above 450C (842F), or, by the traditional definition that has been used in the United States, above 800F (425C) and distributed between two or more close-fitting parts by capillary action. Annealing In the cases of copper, steel, and brass this process is performed by substantially heating the material (until glowing) for a while and allowing it to cool slowly. The metal is softened and prepared for further work such as shaping, stamping, or forming.

Welding is a fabrication process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by causing coalescence. This is often done by melting the workpieces and adding a filler material to form a pool of molten material (the weld puddle) that cools to become a strong joint, with pressure sometimes used in conjunction with heat, or by itself, to produce the weld. A rivet is a mechanical fastener. Before it is installed it consists of a smooth cylindrical shaft with a head on one end. The end opposite the head is called the buck-tail. PROTECTING METALS

Soldering is distinguished from brazing by use of a lower melting-temperature filler metal; it is distinguished from welding by the base metals not being melted during the joining process.

Blind rivets (also known as pop rivets) The rivet assembly is inserted into a hole drilled through the parts to be joined and a specially designed tool used to draw the mandrel into the rivet.

Alclad is a trademark of Alcoa used as a generic term to describe corrosion resistant Aluminum sheet formed from high-purity aluminum surface layers metallurgically bonded to high strength Aluminum Alloy core material. These sheets commonly used by the aircraft industry Sherardising is a method of galvanizing also called vapor galvanizing. A layer of zinc is applied to the metal target object by heating the object in an airtight container with zinc powder. The temperature that the container reaches does not exceed the melting point of zinc. Another method of sherardisation is to expose the intended objects to vapour from molten zinc using a reducing gas to prevent oxidation.