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The reality of the situation is that practically everything around us is made of metal. Take a look around you - the computer you're reading this article on is made up of a multitude of metal components; the chair your sitting on has metal encased beneath the stuffing. And why do all these areas utilize metal components? Because it is a material that contains properties that no other materials do:

Hardness

This is often seen as the metal's ability to resist permanent distortion, abrasions, cutting and penetration. In many types, the hardness can be reduced or increased simply by working them or by applying heat and cold treatments.

Brittleness

This is often seen as the metal's ability to be bent, or to be reformed without breaking. Some kinds can be subjected to cracks and other sorts of damage without the actual shape being changed. Brittleness is a popular property of metal, as it isn't found in other materials (such as wood and plastic).

Malleability

This is the ability for a metal to be hammered, folded, pressed or rolled into a completely different shape without breaking or causing any sort of damage to it.

Ductility

This often comes underneath malleability, as it also involves the bending, rolling, drawing and twisting of metal without causing any damage to it, but the term 'ductile' refers to this change in shape being more permanent.

Restoration

This refers to metal's ability to return to its original shape. Generally, the way to get this to occur is to remove the force that caused the material to change its shape in the first place.

Elasticity

People do not often associate metal with being elastic, but it does have the ability to be moulded and shaped to a certain point (once past this point, the material will be subject to a permanent distortion).

Toughness

This refers to metal's ability to withstand a lot of working without breaking or being subjected to other forms of damage. It can be hammered repeatedly, for example, without fear of developing a hole.

Conductivity

This refers to a metal's ability to conduct both heat and electricity. This is why wiring and other applications involving the use of heat or electricity to run utilize such components.

There are, of course, other properties for which metal is lorded above other sorts of materials - the properties listed above are just the more common and most desired. By looking at each of these properties in the choice of metal for your next project, you are sure to pick one that is best suited to the application.

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