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About 25% of the Earth’s crust is composed of metal, and it is present in almost every aspect of our daily lives. Discovered and utilised by humans as far back as 9000BC, in the Chalcolithic period, the melting of copper first appeared in the Middle East. In 2500BC, gold, silver and their alloys were granulated. The Bronze Age began in 2000BC in the Far East, followed in 1500BC by the Iron Age [wrought iron] in the Middle East.
Metal of one type or another has moulded the way we live, as this versatile material has been incorporated into everything we do. The ability of metal to conduct electricity and heat well, has had a major effect on our lives within design and engineering. It forms many of the buildings and foundations that surround us from sheds to mega sky scrapers. It can be hammered, shaped, cut, melted, cast and fabricated in every way imaginable.
This unique material is found throughout the Earth, scattered unevenly and mixed with things like rock, sometimes containing oxygen etc. Greater concentrations are found underground in deposits of mineral ores that can be mined. Metal has an incomparable strength in comparison to most materials, and can be blended with other elements to produce a wide range of products. This includes cars, computers, bridges and factories and many other structures we need.
When metal ore is mined it is processed to extract the pure material, this involves crushing the ore until it is in powder form. This is then heated to extremely high temperatures, and is rinsed or placed in a chemical bath. Residual sludge is filtered, liquid is removed and electricity is applied to get rid of any chemical bonds. After this process the metal can be used for a vast amount of things small or large. It can even be used in fabrication and production of processing plants by specialists like Salford Engineering Solutions!
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