There exist nearly 118 elements on earth. Out of those 118 elements, nearly 95 elements occur naturally. These 118 elements are classified into metals, non-metals and metalloids.
There exist around 20 alloys on earth. Alloys are metals that are made by mixing two or more metals. Alloys have their independent uses, properties and compositions.
Alike that, metals have their independent uses, properties and characteristics. The most commonly used alloy is steel. However, steel is quite different from metals.
Steel vs Metal
The difference between steel and metal is the way they occur in nature. Alloys are made up of two or more metals. On the other hand, metals are chemical elements and occur naturally. Apart from that, the boiling points and weight of metals in different from the weight and boiling point of steel.
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An alloy of iron and carbon is called steel. It is an alloy that has improved strength and is resistant to fracture. Steel is less costly, strong and has several uses.
It can be used in several machines, tools, weapons, cars, buildings etc. Properties of steel include high strength, less weight. Stainless steel is resistant to corrosion and is also ductile.
Metals are chemical elements that occur naturally. They have independent uses, properties, and compositions. Various metals occur in nature in different states.
Metals have a shiny appearance. They can conduct heat as well as electricity. They possess the property of being ductile, which means that they can be drawn into thin wires.
Metals are also malleable and can be hammered into thin sheets. Examples of metals include gold, silver, copper, iron, etc.
|Parameters of Comparison||Steel||Metal|
|Definition||An alloy of iron and carbon is known as steel.||A chemical element that is malleable, ductile, a good conductor of heat and electricity, lustrous and fusible is known as metal.|
|First found||1800 BC||5000-3000 BC|
|Properties||High strength, less weight, it (stainless steel) is resistant to corrosion, it is ductile, weldability, durability.||High strength, less weight, it (stainless steel) is resistant to corrosion, it is ductile, weldability, durability. Lustrous or shiny appearance, malleability, they are ductile, good conductors of heat, good conductors of electricity, some metals have high melting points and high density.|
|Uses/Applications||For home storage purposes, the cabinets and shelving units that are used are often made of steel. It is also used in cars. Home appliances like televisions, refrigerators, sinks, and ovens are made up of steel. For decoration purposes, The surgical scalpels used by doctors are made up of steel. It is used in construction products.||Metals like gold and platinum are used to make ornaments; For construction purposes, metal like iron is used, For making utensils and household vessels aluminum is used, Aluminium is also used in the form of insulation wires, In thermometers metal like mercury is used to show us the correct temperature, In-car batteries metal like lead is used|
|Types/Examples||Carbon steel, Stainless steel, Tool steel, Alloy steel, Cobalt steel, High carbon steel, Molybdenum steel, Tungsten steel, Nickel steel, Manganese steel, Chromium steel, Hot-work tool steel, Shock-resistant tool steel, etc.||Aluminum, Copper, Tin, Iron, Gold, Lead, Silver, Titanium, Uranium, Zinc, Sodium, Magnesium, Potassium, Beryllium, Lithium, Scandium, Manganese, Chromium, Cobalt, Nickel, Vanadium, Zinc, Strontium, Rubidium, Gallium, Barium, Cesium, Indium, etc.|
What is Steel?
An alloy of iron and carbon is known as steel. Depending on the quantity of carbon and iron, steel is used in different areas and has several properties that are useful enough.
It is low in cost and is extremely strong. It is also used to manufacture different products that are used in different areas.
The word steel is derived from the proto-Germanic word “stahliją”, which means “something that is made from steel”. If the carbon content in steel is less, then the iron content becomes weak and soft.
Some additional elements are added while steel is made. These additional elements are added to improve the characteristics of the resultant alloy.
The ancient steelmaking sites date nearly 4000 years back in 1800 BC in Anatolia. Different forms of steel were used in different parts of the world.
For example, Noric steel was used in the Roman military for various purposes. The quench-hardened steel was used by the Chinese people during the Warring States era.
Steel is one of the most used alloy metal. Because of its distinctive properties, it is of great use and has proven to be helpful to mankind in many ways.
Steel as an engineering and construction material is useful to us, and the steel industry has flourished thoroughly in most parts of the world.
What is Metal?
A chemical element that is malleable, ductile, a good conductor of heat and electricity, lustrous and fusible is known as metal. Metals have several physicals as well as chemical properties.
They are used in various areas and are found naturally. They exist in large quantities, and some metals are even volatile, for example, sodium.
A metal can either be an alloy or a chemical element, or even a molecular compound. The first metal that was discovered was copper. Copper being extremely distinctive, has properties like high weight and malleability.
Several antiquities made from brass were also found. Brass is an alloy of copper and arsenic, has its properties.
At some archaeological sites in Anatolia, ancient ironware excavations were found, which included some pieces of steel, which is an alloy of carbon and iron.
In Toledo, Spain, some workers even made sword from steel that was used in wars. Other safety gears were also made from metal for the protection of the warriors.
There are several examples of metals that can be used in a lot of areas. Various products are manufactured by using different metals because of their distinctive properties and compositions.
Metals are in use right from ancient times. Depending on their discoveries and properties, appropriate use is done by us, and we benefit a lot because of that.
Main Differences Between Steel and Metal
- Metals occur naturally and are generally found in the earth’s crust. On the other hand, steels are made from two or more metals by mixing them.
- Examples of metals include Aluminium, Copper, Tin, Iron, Gold, Lead, Silver etc., on the other hand, examples of steel include Carbon steel, Stainless steel, Tool steel, Alloy steel etc.
- Steel is much stronger than some metals.
- Steel has a high melting point in comparison with some metals.
- All metals can undergo corrosion, but stainless steel, a type of steel, is resistant to corrosion.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.