Metals

rusty metal tools at Geevor

Metals are vital in everyday life.

Out of the ninety four naturally occurring elements around seventy are classified as metals. When we describe something as being metallic it is often because it is hard, heavy, lustrous, formed from a metal and strong enough to be made into huge variety of tools, machines and structures.Humans first used metals about 8000 years ago and by 6500 years ago began to extract metals from ores.

Ores are rocks that contain enough metal minerals to make it worthwhile extracting them. For example, tin or (Cassiterite) is used to make tin and iron ore (Haematite) is used to make iron and steel. The ore needs to be heated to extreme temperatures in order to turn it into metal. 

The first metals people used were native metals like copper, silver and gold, which can occur naturally as metals rather then an ore. These occur as metal deposits in the ground and are easy to make into objects like jewellery and tools.

 

Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of the T Grevatt collection held by Cornwall Council

 

Tin (Sn)

Click to see a larger version of this imagethree small bottles of tin concentrate

Tin is one of the few metals which has been used and traded by humans for more than 5000 years.


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Bismuth (Bi)

Click to see a larger version of this imagebismuth mineral specimen

Bismuth was confused in early times with tin and lead because of its resemblance to those elements.


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How is Copper used?

Click to see a larger version of this imagereplica bronze age sword

The first copper objects were decorative - because copper is attractive and easy to shape into objects like earrings, rings, bracelets, combs and mirrors. Copper can be mixed with other metals to create alloys such as bronze (copper and tin) or brass (copper and zinc).


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Comment left by payday loans on 2010-02-14 00:30:20

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Comment left by scott peisley on 2010-04-28 02:55:59

:D

 

Comment left by geo on 2010-08-01 15:31:08

thanks

 

Comment left by toasty redhead on 2011-05-29 10:54:31

I never thought of it that way, well put!

 

Comment left by Polo on 2011-09-08 23:10:25

Trends in global tin production have changed significantly since the 1985 tin crisis. In 2009 statistics for the world’s major tin producing countries is estimated as China (44%), Indonesia (21%), Peru (14%), Bolivia (7%), Brazil (5%) and Dem Rep of Congo (4%).

 

Comment left by James Lever on 2011-11-21 02:58:09

Some of the arsenic exported to America may have been re-imported to Lancashire carried in cotton bales as calcium arsenate pesticide used to combat the boll weevil. Seven million tons of American cotton were imported to Lancashire from 1920-1950

 

Comment left by frederick jatong on 2012-05-19 08:39:52

I pray one day to visit a mine like this.

 

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