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Introduction of 8 common metal materials and metal surface treatment technology (2)

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4. Aluminum (AL) -- modern materials

Compared with gold which have 9,000 years history, aluminum, a bluish white metal, is the baby of metal. Aluminum was invented and named in early 18th century. Unlike other metals, aluminum does not exist in nature as a direct metal element. Instead, it is produced from bauxite, which contains 50 percent alumina (also known as bauxite). Aluminum, found in this form in minerals, is also one of the most abundant metallic elements on earth.

When aluminum first appeared, it was not immediately applied to people's lives. Since then, a number of new products have been developed for their unique functions and characteristics, and high-tech material has gradually gained a wider market. Although history of aluminum application is relatively short, production of aluminum products on market now far exceeds sum of other non-ferrous metal products.

Material characteristics: flexible and plastic, easy to make alloy, high strength-weight ratio, excellent corrosion resistance, easy to conduct electricity and heat, recyclable.Typical applications: vehicle skeleton, aircraft parts, kitchen utensils, packaging and furniture. Aluminum has also been used to reinforce large structures, such as the statue of Cupid in London's Piccadilly Circus and the roof of the Chrysler motor building in New York.

5. Magnesium alloy -- ultra-thin aesthetic design

Magnesium is a very important non-ferrous metal, it is lighter than aluminum, and can be well formed with other metals of high strength alloy, magnesium alloy has a specific gravity light, high specific strength and specific stiffness, good thermal conductivity, good damping and electromagnetic shielding performance, easy to shape, easy to recover and other advantages. 

But for a long time, magnesium and its alloys have been known as "noble metals" because of their limited use in aviation, aerospace and military industries due to their high price and technical limitations. At present, magnesium is third major metal engineering material after steel and aluminum, which is widely used in aerospace, automobile, electronics, mobile communications, metallurgy and other fields. It is expected that magnesium will become even more important in future due to increased production costs of other structural metals.

The proportion of magnesium alloy is 68% of aluminum alloy, 27% of zinc alloy and 23% of steel. Most ultra-thin laptop and mobile phone cases are made of magnesium alloy. Since last century, human beings still have an un-erasable love for metal texture and luster. Although plastic products can form a metal-like appearance, but its luster, hardness, temperature, texture and metal still have a gap. 

Magnesium alloy, as a new type of metal material, gives people the feeling of high-tech products. The corrosion resistance of magnesium alloy is 8 times that of carbon steel, 4 times that of aluminum alloy and more than 10 times that of plastics. Commonly used magnesium alloys are non-flammable, especially when used in automobile parts and building materials to avoid instantaneous combustion. Magnesium is eighth most abundant mineral in the earth's crust, and most of its raw material comes from seawater, so its resources are stable and abundant. Material characteristics: lightweight structure, high rigidity and impact resistance, excellent corrosion resistance, good heat conductivity and electromagnetic shielding, good non-inflammability, poor heat resistance, easy to recycle. Typical applications: widely used in aerospace, automotive, electronics, mobile communications, metallurgy and other fields.

6. Copper -- companion of man

Copper is an incredible versatile metal, so closely related to our lives. Many of man's early tools and weapons were made of copper. Its Latin name cuprum originated from a place called Cyprus. It is a copper rich island. People named the metal with abbreviation Cu.

Copper plays a very important role in modern society: it is widely used in architectural structures as a carrier of electric power, and for thousands of years it has been used as a raw material for body decoration by people from many different cultures. Malleable, orange-colored metal has evolved along the way, from simple decoded transmissions to its key role in complex modern communications applications. Copper is an excellent conductor of electricity whose conductivity is second only to that of silver. Copper is second only to gold in the history of use of metals. This is largely because copper is easy to extract and relatively easy to separate.

Material characteristics: good corrosion resistance, excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, hardness, flexibility, ductility, polishing, unique effect. 

Typical USES: wire, engine coil, printed circuit, roofing material, piping material, heating material, jewelry, cooker. It is also one of main alloys used in making bronze.

Keywords in the article: Aluminum Magnesium alloy Copper
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