Metal Used at Home - The Common Types of Metal and What they are Used for in Domestic Construction

Summary: The uses of common metals in a home. Learn about the types of metals that are used in domestic construction and understand what they are used for. Find out why particular metals are used and which metals are used to make alloys that are used in a home.

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Alloys (metals blended together or with other products) are most commonly seen around the home, but some metals are seen in their pure form. The most common presentation of metal in the home is in the electroplated form, where a thin layer of metal is fused by electrolysis to an object.

Lead Flashings/roof coverings Soft, heavy metal. Easily worked and resistant to rust...Poison risk !
Copper Plumbing/roofs/decoration Soft metal, easily worked. Conducts heat and electricity well.
Zinc Flashing substitute Similar to lead but lighter and not so easily bent.
Silver Cutlery/jewellery Valuable metal, soft easily worked and damaged. Needs much care.
Gold Jewellery/finery Valuable metal. 24 carats is pure gold. Needs much care.
Brass  Ornaments/decoration/screws An alloy of zinc and copper, sometimes with some lead. 
Bronze Ditto Alloy of copper, zinc and tin. Easiliy worked.
Aluminum Cans/foil/lightweight parts Light easily worked metal, rust resistant.
Pewter Tankards/plates/ornaments Alloy of tin and lead. Generally a dull metal.
Mild steel Screws/hinges Iron with carbon content of less than 0.1%. Easily worked but prone to rust.
Alloy steel Springs/chisels/saws. Iron + (eg) Tungsten, chromium, nickel.Very hard but rusts easily.
Stainless Steel Kitchen/car/decoration. Steel with nickel and chromium. Will not stain or rust.
Aluminum alloy Frames/kettles Aluminium + copper, manganese and magnesium. Very hard but rusts.
Nickel silver Knives/trays etc Alloy of copper, nickel and zinc.........No silver!
Wrought iron Gates/chains/fences Iron with carbon and slag. Easily worked and is suitable for welding and soldering.
Cast Iron Boilers/gutters/fire grates Iron with between 2 and 5% carbon. Very brittle. Can be moulded but not drawn or twisted.
Zinc plate Screws/nails/rust proofing Coating of zinc over steel produces galvanized (rustproof) steel/iron.
Copper plate Base for Chromium plating Coated with copper by electrolysis as undercoat for another metal.
Chromium plate Trimmings eg knobs/handles Very bright cheaply produced plate for shiny surface.
Silver/Gold plate Jewellery etc. Plated onto other metals for attractiveness and increased value

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