The role of metals in society
Minerals and metals are essential for modern living. Most of us give little thought to the variety and complexity of the materials we depend on every day, but the fact is, it’s hard to find any activity, structure or object where metals are absent, or at least didn’t play a role in the manufacturing process.
Recent advances include ‘smart’ metals or ‘memory’ alloys that change their shape with changes in heat: hard-skinned amorphous or ‘glassy’ metals; transparent metals; lightweight, heat resistant aerospace metals; superplastic alloys that can form complex shapes under pressure; and powder metallurgical and three dimensional printing techniques that permit more efficient production of materials.
Such constant innovation means that metals continue to play a major part in helping us meet the challenges of 21st century living.Next page >