Strength is one of the most important qualities in the use of metals. This is true especially in construction, heavy industry, tool making and transportation. It’s why bars, plates and steel pipes manufactured in the Philippines and all over the world are durable. Metal alloys are often stronger than a metal in its pure form. When talking about the strongest metals, the meaning of strength must be considered.
There are different ways to measure the strength of a metal:
Yield strength– this measures the lowest stress that will result to the deformation of an object.
Compressive strength– this measures the amount of squeezing stress that will cause defect.
Tensile strength– this measures the amount of pulling stress that will cause damage
Impact strength– this measures the amount of impact energy that will cause a fracture
There are many metals which can be considered the strongest. This depends greatly on the intended application of the metal as well as the various alloys that can be formed with each metal.
With regards to pure metals, tungsten has the highest tensile strength. It has the ultimate strength of 1510 megapascals. Tungsten also has the highest melting point of any unalloyed metal and the second highest melting point in the periodic table, bested only by carbon. It is also very dense and brittle, which made it difficult to work with in all but its purest forms. It is commonly used in electrical and military applications and tungsten filaments may be used in light bulbs. A coating of tungsten can also add more punch to projectiles. It is also a common component in steel and other alloys, where even just a small amount can significantly increase the strength of the alloy.
Researchers attempt to create ever-stronger combinations of elements, which is why alloys are a constantly changing field. Steel is generally considered as the strongest alloy especially if it’s mixed with a few other elements. Vanadium steel alloys are becoming popular, with several companies releasing variants with ultimate strength reaching up to 5205 MPa. Steel itself is an alloy of iron and carbon but other elements can also be used. It is also a highly versatile alloy, meaning a form of it can be made to meet so many specifications. Steel has been in use for millenniums but it rose to popularity in the market during the Renaissance.
A mineral’s hardness is usually determined by the Mohs scale and is defined as the mineral’s scratch resistance. Diamonds are the hardest minerals known to man but the hardest metal is chromium. This metal is the best known ingredient in creating stainless steel. Chromium is also used in chrome plating, which protects against corrosion and physical damage. Ever since the Qin Dynasty in China, chromium was recognized for its unique traits because it was used to coat the metal which survived up to this day, in perfect shape and have no corrosion.
Titanium is the perfect blend of strength and practicality, with an ultimate strength of about 434 MPa. It has low density, which makes it ideal for industrial uses requiring a strong metal with a high melting point. Titanium also has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any natural metal known to man. Compared to standard steel, pure titanium is stronger, lighter and cane be made into stronger alloys. It is also fairly common, which resulted into titanium being used for a multitude of purposes.
These metals are the reason why the modern industry came to be. They provided support that is keeping our daily lives running smoothly. We rely on metals to protect us and help us as we progress and innovate further, whether it’s in the tip of a pin, part of a vehicle, or in the beams of a bridge. We really should consider ourselves lucky because no matter what our needs are, Mother Nature has something in store to cover them.