Metals (Complete List) – List Of Different Types Of Metals

Metals are natural compounds of earth’s crust, in which they are generally found in the form of metal ores, associated both with each other and with many other elements. They are also naturally present in the rocks washed by surface water and groundwater and in atmospheric dust.

Here, we will take a look at the 20 most common types of metal and some of the ways they are used in various industries.

What Is Metal?

Metals are substances that form naturally below the surface of the Earth. Most metals are lustrous or shiny. Metals are inorganic, which means they are made of substances that were never alive.

Metals are opaque, lustrous elements that are good conductors of heat and electricity. Most metals are malleable and ductile and are, in general, denser than the other elemental substances.

Metal is very strong and durable and therefore is used to make many things. These are used for making automobiles, satellites, cooking utensils, etc.

Most metals are hard but some are not. Sodium and potassium are such metals that can be cut by knife whereas mercury is a liquid metal at room temperature. Iron is solid in nature.

The Classification of Metals

A huge number of metals are currently available within nature. These metals can be divided in several ways depending on which characteristics or properties are employed as criteria.

Classification by Iron Content

This is the most common method of classifying metals. When a metal has iron, it is called a ferrous metal. The iron makes the metal prone to corrosion and imparts magnetic properties.

Metals that lack the presence of iron are known as non-ferrous metals. They also lack magnetic properties. Some examples are lead, aluminium, copper, zinc, and brass.

Classification by Atomic Structure

Metals may be classified on the basis of their atomic structure as per the periodic table. Metal may be classified as alkaline, transition, or alkaline earth metal. Metals that belong to the same group tend to behave similarly when they react with other elements. So, they share similar chemical properties.

Categories of metal

When we use iron content as our guide, metals are divided into three categories: ferrous, non-ferrous and metal alloy.

Ferrous metal

Almost 90% of manufactured metals are ferrous metals – steel, for instance. Ferrous metals refer to any metal that contains iron. The word ‘ferrous’ comes from the Latin word ‘ferrum,’ which means ‘iron.’ Ferrous metals include steel, cast iron, as well as alloys of iron with other metals (such as stainless steel). Characteristics include:

  • Durability
  • Tensile strength
  • Electrical conductivity
  • Low corrosion resistance
  • Recyclable
  • Usually magnetic
  • Silver in colour

Ferrous metals, such as cast and wrought iron or carbon steel, are known for their tensile strength and durability. As a result, they are widely used in the construction industry providing the structure for bridges and skyscrapers. Ferrous metals are also found in shipping containers, pipework, automobiles, railways and a range of both commercial and domestic tools.

The high carbon content of most ferrous metals means that they are vulnerable to rust. Wrought iron is an exception to this as its purity gives it a resistance to corrosion. Alloying elements will make a steel more resistant to rusting when exposed to moisture. For example adding chromium to create stainless steel.

Ferrous metals have been in use for thousands of years and have a huge range of different applications, from the largest structures to the smallest nuts and bolts. Since most ferrous metals are magnetic, they are often used in electrical and motor applications.

Non-ferrous metal

Non-ferrous metals are alloys or metals containing zero (or very little) iron. They tend to be more expensive than ferrous metals due to their lighter weight. Other attributes include:

  • Non-magnetic properties
  • Easy to fabricate (including machinability, casting and welding)
  • High resistance to corrosion
  • Good thermal and electrical conductivity
  • Low density
  • Non-magnetic
  • Colour range

Non-ferrous metals are usually obtained from minerals like carbonates, silicates and sulphides before being refined through electrolysis. They include aluminium, copper, lead, nickel, tin, titanium and zinc, as well as copper alloys like brass and bronze. Other rare, or precious, non-ferrous metals include gold, silver, platinum, cobalt, mercury, tungsten, lithium and zirconium.

Non-ferrous metals are used for a wide range of commercial, industrial and residential applications. Some, such as aluminium or titanium alloys, can replace steel. However, they are often more expensive and are better employed for their specific attributes. Being softer and more malleable, non-ferrous metals such as gold and silver can be used in more aesthetic settings.

Metal alloys

Metal alloys are a combination of more than one element including another metal. For example, brass is an alloy of two metals, copper and zinc. Steel is an alloy of a metallic element (iron) and around 2% of a non-metallic element (carbon).

Alloying a metal is a means of enhancing a specific property. Each substance within the alloy contributes something different to the mix, creating a unique product that is harder, more durable, more resistant to corrosion or has increased load-bearing capabilities.

Consequently, they are in high demand in a variety of applications and industries such as manufacturing, electronics, domestic goods, architecture, plumbing, and the automotive and aerospace industries.

Types of Metals

List of different types of Metals:

Types of Metals

#1. IRON.

Iron comprises almost 5% of the Earth. Therefore, it is an easy metal to find. However, pure metal is not a stable element, as it immediately reacts with the oxygen present in the air, creating iron oxide.

Taking iron from its ores requires the use of a blast furnace. The first stage of the blast furnace will yield pig iron, which can be refined further to obtain pure iron. This iron usually ends up in steel and other alloys. This is why almost 90% of manufactured metals are ferrous in nature.

Iron is the most used and cheapest metal. There are three types: pig iron, cast iron, and wrought iron.

  • Pig iron: a crude form of iron, used as a raw material to produce various other ferrous metals, such as cast iron and steel.
  • Cast iron: created by melting pig iron with coke and limestone. Cast iron tends to be brittle and is notoriously difficult to weld. However, it is an ideal engineering material with a wide range of applications, particularly in the automotive industry. This is due to its relatively low melting point, castability, excellent machinability, and resistance to both deformation and wear.
  • Wrought iron: tough, ductile, and corrosion-resistant, wrought iron is a type of highly purified metal, with small amounts of silicate slag molded into the filaments. This means it is ideal for forging into products such as guard rails, gates, and garden furniture. However, mild steel (see below) has replaced wrought iron.

#2. STEEL.

Although pure iron is stronger than most metals, it is prone to corrosion. To keep corrosion away, you will need to spend a lot of energy and money. Iron is also extremely heavy due to its high density.

Thus, steel was made by adding carbon to iron to alleviate these weaknesses to some extent. This combination of carbon and iron forms carbon steel, which is stronger than iron. As a result, steel is commonly used as a building material.

There are three primary types of steel:

Carbon Steel: Carbon steel, the most basic of the three types, is usually made solely of carbon and iron. It can be further classified as low, medium, and high carbon steel depending on the percentage of carbon. The higher the carbon percentage, the stronger and more expensive the steel.

Alloy Steel: Alloyed steel is a blanket term for any steel altered with the addition of another element alongside carbon and iron. This makes the steel customizable for a project. The most common modifying elements are manganese, vanadium, nickel, tungsten, and chromium (which makes stainless steel)

Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is manufactured specifically to focus on corrosion resistance. The addition of chromium to the iron/carbon ratio creates a small barrier across the surface area of the metal as it corrodes, which protects the steel itself. Stainless steel is used in many high-contact appliances and tools, including surgical instruments and cutlery.

More Resources: What is Stainless Steel?


Aluminum is derived primarily from bauxite, its ore. It is strong, light, and functional, and is the Earth’s most widespread metal. This is due to its properties, including being lightweight, durable, electrically conductive, corrosion resistant, and has a high strength-to-weight ratio, making it ideal for use in aircraft and automobiles.

It can create alloys with almost all types of metals. Aluminum is easy to machine and does not magnetize.


Magnesium is a really cool metal. It’s about 2/3rds the weight of aluminum, and it has comparable strength. It’s becoming more and more common because of this. Most commonly, you’ll see this as an alloy. That means that it’s mixed with other metals and elements to make a hybrid material with specific properties. This can also make it easier to use for manufacturing processes.

One of the most popular applications of magnesium is in the automotive industry. Magnesium is considered a step up from aluminum when it comes to high-strength weight reduction, and it’s not astronomically more expensive.

Some places where you’ll see magnesium on a performance car are in the wheel rims, engine blocks, and transmission cases. There are disadvantages to magnesium, though. Compared to aluminum, it will corrode more easily. For example, it will corrode when in contact with water, whereas aluminum will not.

Overall, it’s about double the price of aluminum, but it’s generally faster to deal with in manufacturing. Magnesium is flammable, and it burns super-hot. Metal chips, filings, and powder need to be carefully disposed of to prevent explosions.


It is impossible to overlook copper when discussing different types of metals. Copper is easy to form, which is why it has a long history and the applications it has today are the biggest instances of how important it is. Because copper does not come from nature in a pure form, smelting and extracting it from its ore is crucial.

Metals are good conductors but copper stands out as the best. You will find copper conductor wires in electrical circuits due to its extraordinary electrical conductivity. The only metal that can beat copper’s conductivity is silver. This may be why most cooking utensils are made from copper.

#6. BRASS.

Brass is an alloy of zinc and copper. The amount of each metal may vary because of the mechanical and electrical properties that are sought from the metal. It consists of trace amounts of several metallic elements, such as manganese, lead, and aluminum.

Brass serves as an excellent candidate for low friction use, such as in bearings, locks, musical instruments, tools and fittings, and plumbing. Brass is indispensable in inherently safe applications to allow usage and prevent sparks in inflammable surroundings.


Bronze is also an alloy of copper. But instead of zinc, bronze contains tin. Adding other elements such as phosphorus, manganese, silicon, and aluminum may improve its properties and suitability for a particular application.

Bronze is brittle, hard, and resists fatigue well. It also has good electrical and thermal conductivity and corrosion resistance. Bronze finds application in the manufacturing of mirrors and reflectors. It is used for electrical connectors. Due to its corrosion resistance, it finds usage in submerged parts and ship fittings.

Bronze has massive historical significance (like in the Bronze Age) and is easy to pick out. One commonplace to see it is in massive church bells. Bronze is tough and strong, so it doesn’t crack or bend like other metals when it’s being rung. It also sounds better.

Modern uses include sculptures and art, springs, and bearings, as well as guitar strings. Bronze was the first man-made alloy.

#8. ZINC.

Zinc is the third most widely used non-ferrous metal after aluminum and copper. The average person consumes a total of 331 kilograms of zinc in their lifetime. Zinc has a very low melting point, so it is also an ideal pouring material.

Zinc castings are very common in our daily life: the materials below the surface layer of door handles, faucets, electronic components, etc., zinc has a very high corrosion resistance, which makes it have another most basic function, that is, as a surface coating material for steel. In addition to these functions, zinc is also an alloy material with copper to synthesize brass.

Zinc has excellent castability, excellent corrosion resistance, high strength, high hardness, cheap raw materials, low melting point, creep resistance, easy to form alloys with other metals, health care, fragile at room temperature, and ductility around 100 degrees Celsius.


Titanium is a crucial engineering metal because it is a lightweight and strong metal with a silvery-white color. It is corrosion-resistant and has a high melting point. The main characteristics of titanium are low density, high mechanical strength, and easy processing.

Titanium is often used in aircraft and spacecraft because of its properties. Titanium has a metallic luster and is malleable. It is also used in military equipment, and because it is corrosion-resistant, it is also used for medical purposes. You will also find titanium in sporting goods and the chemical industry.


Tungsten has the highest melting point and the highest tensile strength of any of the pure metals. This makes it extremely useful.

About half of all tungsten is used to make tungsten carbide. This is an insanely hard material that’s used for cutting tools (for mining and metalworking), abrasives, and heavy equipment. It can easily cut titanium and high-temperature superalloys.

It gets its name from the Swedish word “tungsten“, which means “heavy stone”. It’s about 1.7 times the density of lead. Tungsten is also a popular alloying element. Since its melting point is so high, it’s often alloyed with other elements to make things like rocket nozzles that have to be able to handle extreme temperatures.

#11. NICKEL.

Nickel is a really common element that’s used all over. Its most common application is in making stainless steel, where it boosts the metal’s strength and corrosion resistance. Almost 70% of the world’s nickel is used to make stainless steel.

Interestingly, nickel only makes up 25% of the composition of the five-cent American coin. Nickel is also a common metal used for plating and alloying. It can be used to coat lab and chemistry equipment, as well as anything that needs to have a smooth, polished surface.

Nickel gets its name from medieval-era German folklore. Nickel ore looks a lot like copper ore, but when the old miners couldn’t get copper from it, they blamed a mischievous sprite named Nickel.

#12. COBALT.

Cobalt is a hard, silver-white metal. It is often used in alloys because it increases the strength and hardness of the metal. Cobalt is also used in making magnets and in electroplating.

Cobalt is a shiny steel-gray metal, relatively hard and brittle, similar to iron and nickel in hardness, tensile strength, mechanical properties, thermodynamic properties, and electrochemical behavior. The magnetism disappears when heated to 1150℃.

#13. TIN.

Tin is really soft and malleable. It’s used as an alloying element to make things like bronze (1/8th tin and 7/8ths copper). It’s also the primary ingredient in pewter (85-99%). When you bend a bar of tin, you can hear something called a “tin cry”. This is a twanging sound of the crystal structure reorganizing itself (called twinning).

#14. LEAD.

Lead is really soft and malleable, and it’s also very dense and heavy. It’s got a really low melting point, too. Lead is a highly machinable, corrosion-resistant metal. Piping and paint represent some use-cases.

Lead was used as an anti-knocking agent in gasoline. Later, it was discovered that the byproduct of this lead was responsible for serious health complications. Lead is still common in ammunition, car batteries, radiation protection, lifting weights, cable sheathing, etc.

In the 1800s it was discovered that lead is actually pretty toxic stuff. That’s why it’s not so common in modern times, although it wasn’t all that long ago that it was still found in things like paints and bullets.

Lead is a neurotoxin that can cause brain damage and behavioral problems, among other things.

That said, it still does have modern uses. For example, it’s great for radiation shielding. It’s also occasionally added to copper alloys to make them easier to cut. The copper-lead mix is often used to improve the performance of bearings.


Technically speaking, silicon is a metalloid. This means that it has both metallic and non-metallic qualities. For example, it looks like metal. It’s solid, shiny, bendable, and has a high melting point. However, it does a terrible job of conducting electricity. This is partly why it’s not considered a full metal.

Even still, it’s a common element to find in metals. Using it for alloying can change the metal’s properties quite a bit. For example, adding silicon to aluminum makes it easier to weld.


Chromium is a physically hard element after carbon and maybe a diamond. It is usually used as an alloy to improve the strength of other metals.

The metal has a high melting point which is approximately 2000 degrees Celcius. In terms of appearance, chromium has a unique reflection and can be used to improve the surface finishing of other metals.


Lithium is categorized as a soft metal or a metal alkali group. It has a silvery-white luster that makes it look attractive. Lithium is used for improving the strength of glasses and ceramics.

#18. GOLD.

Gold is a precious metal that has been used for centuries to make jewelry, coins and other objects. It is rare, soft, malleable and does not corrode in the air. Gold is a good conductor of electricity and heat. Gold is solid at room temperature, dense, soft, bright, corrosion resistant, and the most malleable metal.

#19. SILVER.

Silver is a precious metal that is similar to gold in many ways. It is rare, soft, malleable and does not corrode in the air. Silver is a good conductor of electricity and heat. However, it is not as good a conductor as gold.


Platinum is a very heavy, precious, silver-white metal, platinum is soft and ductile and has a high melting point and good resistance to corrosion and chemical attack.

For example, its surface remains bright after being brought to white heat in air, and, though it readily dissolves in aqua regia, it is scarcely attacked by simple acids. (It does dissolve slowly in hydrochloric acid in the presence of air.) Small amounts of iridium are commonly added to give a harder, stronger alloy that retains the advantages of pure platinum.

Physical Properties of Metals

Some of the main physical properties of metals are given below.

  • Metal can be hammered into thin sheets. It means they possess the property of malleability. 
  • Metals are ductile. They can be drawn into wires. 
  • Metals are a good conductor of heat and electricity. 
  • Metals are lustrous which means they have a shiny appearance.  
  • Metals have high tensile strength. It means they can hold heavyweights. 
  • Metals are sonorous. It means when we strike them, they make a ringing sound. 
  • Metals are hard. It means they cannot be cut easily.

Chemical properties of Metals

  • Reaction with water: Only highly reactive metals react with water and not all the metals. For example, Sodium reacts vigorously with water and oxygen and gives a large amount of heat in the process. This is why sodium is stored in kerosene so that it does not come in contact with moisture or oxygen.
  • Reaction with acids: Hydrogen gas is produced when metals react with acids. For example, when zinc reacts with hydrochloric acid it produces zinc chloride and hydrogen gas.
  • Reaction with bases: Not all the metals react with bases and when they do react, they produce metal salts and hydrogen gas. When zinc reacts with strong sodium hydroxide it gives sodium zincate and hydrogen gas.
  • Reaction with oxygen: Metal oxides are produced when metals burn in the presence of oxygen. These metal oxides are basic in nature. For example: When a magnesium strip is burned in the presence of oxygen it forms magnesium oxide and when magnesium oxide dissolves in water it forms magnesium hydroxide.

Uses of Metals

Metals are used in:

  • Transportation — Cars, buses, trucks, trains, ships, and airplanes.
  • Aerospace — Unmanned and manned rockets and the space shuttle.
  • Computers and other electronic devices that require conductors (TV, radio, stereo, calculators, security devices, etc.)
  • Communications including satellites that depend on a tough but light metal shell.
  • Food processing and preservation — Microwave and conventional ovens and refrigerators and freezers.
  • Construction — Nails in conventional lumber construction and structural steel inother buildings.
  • Biomedical applications — As artificial replacement for joints and other prostheses.
  • Electrical power production and distribution — Boilers, turbines, generators, transformers, power lines, nuclear reactors, oil wells, and pipelines.
  • Farming — Tractors, combines, planters, etc.
  • Household conveniences — Ovens, dish and clothes washers, vacuum cleaners, blenders, pumps, lawnmowers and trimmers, plumbing, water heaters, heating/cooling, etc.

List of Metals (Examples of Metals)

This is a list of metals in order of increasing atomic number.

S.NoAtomic NumberSymbolMetal Elements


What is Metal?

A metal is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearance, and conducts electricity and heat relatively well. Metals are typically malleable or ductile. Metal may be a chemical element such as iron; an alloy such as stainless steel; or a molecular compound such as polymeric sulfur nitride.

What are the Types of Metal?

Metals can be divided into two main groups: ferrous metals are those which contain iron and non-ferrous metals are those which contain no iron.
1. Iron. Iron comprises almost 5% of the Earth.
2. Steel. Although pure iron is stronger than most metals, it is prone to corrosion.
3. Copper.
4. Bronze.
5. Brass.
6. Aluminium.
7. Titanium.
8. Lead.

What are the 10 examples of metals?

Examples of metals are aluminum, copper, iron, tin, gold, lead, silver, titanium, uranium, and zinc. Well-known alloys include bronze and steel. The study of metals is called metallurgy

What are the properties of metals?

Properties of Metals:
1. Metals can be hammered into thin sheets. It means they possess the property of malleability.
2. Metals are ductile.
3. Metals are good conductor of heat and electricity.
4. Metals are lustrous which means they have a shiny appearance.
5. Metals have high tensile strength.
6. Metals are sonorous.
7. Metals are hard.

How many types of metals exist?

According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, there are 94 metals on the periodic table, and each can be classified differently. However, the most common classification is by iron content.