Metal, iron, steel – What’s the difference?
In practice, steel, iron and metal are often equidistant. However, there are some differences between the mentioned materials. What are these?
The importance of metal in today’s industry
Today’s world is unimaginable without the metal structures whose application spreads from the car industry to building bridges. Although concepts such as iron, metal, and steel are being used every day, the question arises as to whether there is a difference between them? One of the common mistakes that appears daily is to equalize or use the terms iron, metal, and steel as synonyms.
However, there is a certain difference in the aforementioned terms, ranging from the conceptual definition itself to the way in which steel or iron is obtained in the first place.
What are metals?
Metals, ie, metallic elements are the chemical elements that got their name thanks to the metal link through which the atoms in the crystal grid are connected. Looked through the prism of chemistry, metals found in nature can be found in pure form, without any additives. Furthermore, each metal has its physical and chemical properties that shape its behavior.
In addition to the above-mentioned division, metals can be divided into precious, semi-precious and common metals. The classification of metals with respect to the preciousness depends on its corrosion resistance. Precious metals are therefore resistant to all types of corrosion while the common metals are on the other hand subject to corrosive action.
All metals have a glossy surface and excellent processing properties. However, due to the reflexive properties, there are problems with laser cutting. Mainly, in nature, they can be found most often in a solid state, except mercury which is liquid.
Is there a difference between metal and steel?
There is. Due to its chemical properties, stainless steel can’t be classified as metal, but as alloy. Thus, metals as such in their structure don’t have any admixtures as opposed to the steel which has.
However, despite the fact that steel is not a metal, it possesses properties that have metals. For example, steel plates can have a glossy surface just like metals. Observed through the prism of the properties, steel is a good electric power and heat generator just like all metals. Nonetheless, because of its composition, it can’t be placed in the metals category, in a periodic system of elements.
And what about the difference between iron and steel?
Željezo se kao takvo može klasificirati kao sirovina koje se upotrebljava u izradi kako slitina tako i komponenti poput vijaka. Sukladno tome i činjenici da čelik ima udio željeza do čak 99% izvire glavna razlika između ova dva elementa.
In addition, another thing that affects the significant difference between steel and iron are its properties. That is just why stainless steel (inox) is corrosion-resistant, has good thermal conductivity and properties that make it one of the most widely used constructional metals .