The malleable materials are those even being hard, can be deformed by decompression without fracture , ie, they can significantly alter its length and shape. The term comes from the Latin malleus , which means “hammer”.
This is an important property in the industrial handling of certain minerals and metals, since, within certain ranges, malleable materials can acquire any necessary shape without breaking, unlike fragile materials . This is a more common feature in metallic materials than in non-metallic materials, which are usually brittle.
Malleability, in fact, is used as a metaphor in everyday language to refer to personalities, organizations or opinions of easy influence or manipulation, meaning that it does not take too much effort to alter its initial form.
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- Examples of Flexible and Rigid Materials
Examples of malleable materials
- Gold . This precious metal is the most malleable material known to man. It is possible to obtain gold foil one ten thousandth of a millimeter thick. This gives it a privileged use in jewelry and other commercial applications, since it allows cheaper metals to be coated in gold.
- Silver . Another precious metal, extremely abundant in nature and notoriously malleable, ductile, soft, shiny and white. In fact, the name of the silver comes from the Latin platus , which means “flat” and which hinted at the flat sheets of metal that can be easily obtained.
- Platinum . This precious, heavy and highly corrosion resistant metal is in high demand to take advantage of its malleability and to manufacture jewelry, electronic components, vehicle and oil catalysts, as well as neurosurgery devices and other important medical applications.
- Aluminum . Perhaps one of the most common examples of malleability is aluminum, a very abundant material in the Earth’s crust (around 8% of it), non-ferromagnetic, a good conductor of heat and electricity, but above all, extremely malleable. This is how the aluminum foil present in all our kitchens is manufactured.
- Iron . This heavy and ferromagnetic metal has the property of being both ductile and malleable, but also easily oxidizable. That is why it is preferred to work it on alloys (with carbon, silicon and other metals), thus obtaining steel. The latter retains part of the properties of iron, although mitigated by its new components. Carbon, in particular, makes the alloy brittle.
- Copper . It is a reddish, shiny metal and, together with silver, one of the best known electrical conductors. Thanks to this, and its extreme ductility and malleability (it can be deformed with your hands) it is the most widely used material for power lines and various electrical and electronic components. In addition, many of his alloys retain this deformability, as is the case with brass.
- Brass . This is the name given to the gold-colored, non-ferromagnetic, cold-malleable copper-zinc alloy. The fact that it does not produce sparks by metallic impact, is resistant to oxidation and salinity, make it an ideal industrial material for many applications, from boat components to everyday tools and food packaging.
- Bronze . Another copper alloy, this time with tin, was one of the most significant metals in human history, so much so that it gives its name to a prehistoric period: the “Bronze Age”. It was used to make weapons, utensils, jewelry, medals, coins, sculptures and endless applications to this day, since it is a malleable metal, resistant to corrosion and rubbing.
- Nickel . It is a yellowish white transition metal, a good conductor of heat and electricity, ferromagnetic at room temperature and very ductile and malleable, despite being one of the densest metals known, along with iridium, iron and osmium. It has iron-like properties and, together with it, constitutes the core of our planet, so it is in principle an abundant mineral. It is also one of the most demanded metals in the human industry.
- Lead . This heavy matt gray metal is very particular among the known metallic elements due to its enormous molecular flexibility. This motivated its late inclusion in the Periodic Table. Lead is inelastic, malleable to a certain extent and since ancient times has been used to make sheets for writing or engraving.
- Tin . It is a silver, malleable, easily oxidizable and corrosion resistant metal that is widely used in the metallurgical industry as a component of alloys, to give other metals their anticorrosiveness. It is famous because when bending a bar of this material a characteristic sound is produced, called “tin cry”, a result of the friction of the crystals that comprise it.
- Steels . As we have already said, steel is the product of the various alloys to which iron can be subjected, altering its properties to make it more resistant to corrosion, harder and more brittle, etc. Depending on the desired property, a component of carbon, tin, zinc, silica or other materials will be added, which will influence to a greater or lesser extent its ductility and malleability, one of the main attributes that steel obtains from iron.
- Titanium . This is the seventh most abundant metal in the earth’s crust. It is light, resistant to erosion and corrosion, a good electrical conductor, and it is also malleable, so mechanical methods can be used to manufacture plates, bars, sheets and many of its commercial presentations.
- The Indian . This easily meltable, very soft and malleable metal is chemically similar to gallium and aluminum, despite being a rare element in the Earth’s crust. When bent it produces a characteristic sound, like tin, and its relative toxicity has been investigated, despite which it is widely used in soldering processes.
- Cadmium . Long used in batteries and energy processes, this metallic element is very similar in properties to zinc, except for being an important environmental pollutant and a highly toxic metal for life. It is silvery-white, very bright, very ductile and malleable, and has a neutron-absorbing capacity that makes it ideal for nuclear power plants.
- Examples of Elastic Materials
- Examples of Magnetic Materials
- Examples of Natural and Artificial Materials