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The Advantages of Different Types of Metals for Industrial Applications Copy

Published by Lucy Thurston on

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Advancement of societies across the centuries have evolved the more we have understood and developed the various industrial metals. The application of each industrial metal material has changed over time as engineering expertise and knowledge has grown, and manufacturing has moved from labour intensive procedures to mass automation.

Progress has been far from plain sailing. Often trial and error, and some extremely expensive mistakes highlight the human error in the composition of the industrial metal used. For example, in 1969 a 386 metre high metal television transmission mast constructed at Emley Moor near Huddersfield was brought down allegedly by the weight of ice forming on its supporting cables.

From the outset weather affected the performance of the mast. The structure could not cope with freezing conditions, and occasionally local roads had to be closed due to falling ice hazards from the steel cables. However, although the ice was a significant impediment to the mast’s overall performance, the collapse was also accredited to a form of oscillation of the cables which occurred at low wind speeds. Fortunately (amazingly) no one was injured despite the mast’s collapse spreading debris far and wide.

Engineering Steel

The strength of steel makes it a popular choice for heavy industrial projects. Its excellent thermal conductivity properties combined with ductility ensures that it is regularly incorporated in large building structures, transportation, and machining tools. Metal industries have long since recognised the significant versatility and flexibility of using steel in large scale projects.

In transportation, whether that is road vehicles, aerospace or railways, engineering steel can withstand constant heavy duty use. There are several grades of engineering steel, which are incorporated into hydraulic parts, ball bearings, shafts and gears, landing gear, axles, spindles and springs.

But this isn’t the only area in which steel is suitable. The galvanisation process protects sheet steel against corrosion, making it ideal for use in the cooking industry, from the manufacture of pots and pans and kettles, to the production of commercial steel kitchen equipment.

If you recent internet search was for ‘steel suppliers near me’, then you have come to the right place. Feel free to drop us a line and tell us what your specific requirements are.


Aluminium is probably one of the most specified of metals to date, and its recyclability is one of the key features of its use as an industrial metal today. As a metal it is soft and ductile, without compromising on its overall strength and durability, which makes it easy to work with and manipulate into different forms. Yet it is also might lighter in weight than steel, which is why it is used extensively in the automobile and aerospace industries, enabling designers to achieve significant speed and performance abilities.

As the world turns to greener policies in design and manufacturing, the benefits of aluminium are becoming increasingly important. Aluminium suppliers have long since understood that recycling the metal takes 95 per cent less energy than producing virgin aluminium, and once it has gone through the process it can be reintroduced into the supply chain with absolutely no effect on the metal’s overall performance capabilities.


Copper may be one of the lesser known or understood of the metals, but it is still high up in terms of its industrial use. In fact, it is used every single day by millions of people across the globe every time someone switches on a light in their homes or puts the kettle on. Because copper has high electrical conductivity it is used in all domestic and commercial circuits. The ductility of copper is one of the reasons why it is so versatile in incorporating it into different industrial applications. It can be extruded into wire, spun and plated, formed and polished, for extensive use not just in electricals, but also in heat exchange, the production of musical instruments, plumbing applications, and in transportation. Like aluminium, copper also has recycling properties making it a much greener choice when it comes to seeking a local reputable copper supplier. About 40 per cent of copper at any one time is recycled.

Overall the quality of the industrial metal used within any project is crucial to its suitability to perform as required – whether it is a large scale industrial manufacturing job, or a small scale artistic endeavour.

Understanding Industrial Metal Supply

If you want to know which is the best industrial metal to use for a specific job, Rapid Metals has a wealth of metal expertise and knowledge to ensure that you choose the right metal, and the right shape of metal. We can also precisely cut it to individual specifications. Drop us a line or give us a call if you need more information.

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