Metal and Steel – Are They the Same?

It’s normal to assume that metal and steel are one and the same thing. After all, these terms are used interchangeably. For example, you have metal building and steel building, metal cabinets and steel cabinets. With the terms being used much in the same way, it’s easy for people to assume that the two really are the same.

However, there are very big differences between the two. In fact, they are not the same, so technically speaking, metal and steel should not be used interchangeably.

Definition of Metal

According to Merriam-Webster, metal is a type of chemical element that can be found in the earth’s crust. It has an opaque and lustrous appearance, and two of its most notable features are fusibility and ductility.

Fusibility means that it can easily be converted from a solid state to a liquid state by heating, and vice versa. Ductility, on the other hand, means the ability to be stretched without sustaining any damages.

Definition of Steel

Steel, according to the same source, Merriam-Webster, is a type of an iron alloy with carbon content that ranges anywhere from 0.5% to 1.5%. This is not considered a pure element like metal, but is only a variation of it instead. Its components are metal and iron, and it also contains a non-metal carbon. Because of its components, steel is not considered to be a pure metal.

Steel is much stronger than metal though which is why it is the most preferred material of many industries, particularly the construction and automobile industry. However, to make steel into what’s being used commercially and industrially, impurities such as sulfur as well as silica have to be removed prior to adding in carbon.

Main Differences

Below are the main differences of the two:

  1. Metal is ductile, malleable, and fusible, which makes it easy for industries to use them in various ways. This element is commonly used in coin and jewelry making as well as surgical implants because of its hygienic properties and industrial and household products because of its ductile and fusible properties. Metal is also more commonly used in decorative products. Steel, mixed with different metals to provide strength and durability, is commonly used in construction and automobile industries. Manufacturers used them in the production of building materials as well as vehicles, and they also use them for building bridges, ships and even guns, among others.
  2. Metal is nonmagnetic, and it is not corrosive. In fact, it does not tarnish and has hygienic properties, making it very useful to the medical industry. Metal is used in the production of implants. Steel, on the other hand, is not only magnetic but highly corrosive as well, particularly if too much carbon is present. To make steel hygienic, other metals have to be added to it.
  3. Metal is expensive. It is also even considered as a monetary object much like gold as well as silver. Because of its high cost, pure metal is not widely used commercially. Steel, on the other hand, is an element made by man by adding other metals. It is not as expensive as gold, silver, and metal. Steel is more economical, so it’s more commonly used commercially.
  4. Metal is highly thermal and good conductor of electricity; while steel is not.

Jennifer Dalcour, a freelance writer, writes for GetCarports. This company is one of the leading metal carport and steel building providers in the country. They also offer Get Carports add ons and accessories.

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