4 Metals With Unique Properties

By Adam Ioannidis

Metals are an extraordinary substance. They fuel a large manufacturing industry and are responsible for the majority of our world’s infrastructure. You can even sell your scrap metal to be recycled. One of the best things about metals is that even when they’re recycled, they can still be used for the same purposes without losing their strength or properties. Steel, in particular, can theoretically be recycled an infinite number of times without losing its properties. But today we’re going to take a look at something off the beaten track and explore four unique metals that have some interesting properties.

1.    Gallium (Ga)

Gallium is an interesting metal for a few reasons. For one, it has a low melting point, yet high boiling point. In fact, if you hold gallium in your hands for a short time – as it is non-toxic and safe to handle without gloves – it will begin to melt. When it melts, its liquid form can cling to glass and other surfaces. 

It is one of only two non-metallic metals that can melt at room temperature. It is a poor conductor and quite brittle in its solid form, however. Gallium is not a naturally occurring metal and is only found in ores and minerals. A common use for gallium is as a non-toxic substitute for mercury in thermometers – which is a type of scrap metal that you can sell.

2.    Rhodium (Rh)

Rhodium is quite a rare transitional metal and is in the same family as platinum. It is a very shiny and hard metal with a silvery-white colour. A stand-out property of rhodium is that it is highly resistant to corrosion and is not attacked by the majority of acids. The metal is non-toxic and is used for a variety of things in today’s world. 

Most commonly it is used as a catalytic converter in automobiles’ exhaust pipes. A catalytic converter works to lessen the effects of pollutant gasses. The rhodium itself acts as a catalyst within the converter. Some other uses for rhodium include being combined with palladium and platinum to lessen the effects of corrosion as well as being used to create jewellery.

3.    Beryllium (Be)

Beryllium is the first metal in our list that is actually toxic – as well as carcinogenic (meaning it can cause cancer). It is classified as an alkali earth metal and has an extremely high melting point coming in at 1278°C. If we compare this to something like lithium, for example, which has a melting point of 180°C – we can see that beryllium is significantly higher.

A key characteristic of beryllium is that it is transparent to x-rays. Because of its low number of atoms and density, beryllium absorbs considerably fewer x-rays in comparison to most other metals. This makes it ideal for placement in radiation windows for x-ray tubes. Beryllium is also used in the aerospace industry as a lightweight material as well as in nuclear reactors acting as a reflector and absorber of neutrons.

4.    Ruthenium (Ru)

This is a very rare type of transitional metal and is highly toxic. It is known to stain skin and should be treated as a carcinogen. An interesting feature about ruthenium is that it is impervious to being tarnished at room temperature. It is a very hard and brittle metal with lustrous properties and a silvery-white appearance.

This type of metal actually has some fascinating history behind it. It has been discovered that ruthenium is behind the never-ending fires in Southern Turkey. The flames, which are known as Yanartas, have been burning for over 2500 years. Scientists now believe that ruthenium is partly responsible for this as when it is combined with methane, it may burn virtually forever. These flames are also thought to be the inspiration behind the fire-breathing Chimera in Homer’s epic, Iliad.

Looking to sell scrap metal?

Whether it’s a rare metal or not, Metal Men Recycling will buy your scrap metal and dispose or recycle it in the correct manner. If you have scrap metal laying around, consider selling it. Our state-of-the-art scrap yard has all the bells and whistles including weight bridges and heavy lifting machinery. We’re also able to bring bins to your location – be it your house or business – for those larger jobs.

If you’re looking to sell your scrap metal, then please give us a call on 03 5941 6677. Alternatively, you can also fill out the enquiry form on our website.

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