How Do Metals Form?

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metals form into sheets that can be hammered into flat, thin pieces or stretched into long wires that can carry electricity to people like you from power stations hundreds of miles away. These and other properties of metals are extremely important for human civilizations, especially since the discovery of bronze about 11,000 years ago marked a major step forward from less durable stone tools.

Most pure and alloyed metals, in their solid state, have atoms that are arranged in highly ordered crystalline structures. They also have the property of conducting electricity well.

Metallic bonds are the force of attraction between positive metal ions and the mobile valence electrons that surround them. The ions form a lattice-like structure that holds the material together. This structure explains why most metals are malleable, meaning they can be shaped into sheets without breaking. It also explains why they conduct electricity so easily.

Unlike the bonds that hold together atoms in ionic crystals (which are held in fixed positions by the attractions between cations and anions), metal atoms can move past each other more easily. This allows metals to bend, which is why you can hammer gold into sheet or stretch it into wire.

There are several processes used to produce metal parts for industry, including bending, stretching, deep drawing and roll forming. During the process of roll forming, metal is fed through pairs of rollers that bend it incrementally until the desired cross-sectional shape is achieved. This is a common manufacturing process, particularly for components with longer lengths and/or large production runs.

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