Scientists continue to discover and develop new metals and alloys which can be used in modern technology and industry. The aviation industry in particular, requires metals that are strong and light. For this reason aluminium alloys are often used to make planes. Titanium is used for high speed aircraft that get very hot and some engine parts are made of steel. As fossil fuels run out, the search also goes on for lightweight metals that can be used to convert chemical energy into electrical energy. These metals could be used to make batteries or fuel cells.

Each metal has its own particular properties. So we may choose different metals to do different jobs. When an electric current passes through tungsten wire it glows but does not melt. This makes it ideal for light bulbs. Forks need to be cheap and strong but must not rust. Stainless steel is a suitable choice. See if you can find out why other metals in these pictures are being used.

A lot of metals and metal alloys have been used to make this coach. The body and chassis are mostly made of metal. The battery contains lead plates; all the wiring is copper; the trim is probably chromium or stainless steel; and the door handles are plated zinc alloy. The wheels may be an alloy of magnesium and aluminium and the light bulbs contain tungsten. A catalytic converter, made from rare metals such as palladium, rhodium and platinum, can be placed in the exhaust system to make the engine fumes cleaner. The converter changes polluting gases, such as carbon monoxide, into cleaner substances.

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