The Best Guide to Buying Metals for Construction

If you are like other people, you may want to build with metal because of its versatility, appeal, and durability. As you get started with your project, you must determine the kind of material that will work best. Your metal options include steel, aluminum, stainless steel, and copper which can be easily ordered at a reasonable price.

Geometries of Metals

Aside from deciding the kind of metal to use for your project, you must decide on the metal shape for structural purposes. Below are the common geometries each of which has its own pros and cons:

  • Flat bar. These are long, rectangular-shaped metal bars used in a range of applications. They can be bought in aluminum, hot rolled, stainless steel, and more.
  • C-channel. This metal geometry retains ease of bolting that flat bar presents, with greater structural strength along other axis.
  • I-beam. This is a beam within an I-shaped cross-section. It is composed of two horizontal planes called flanges connected by a vertical component.
  • Angle iron.  In general, Angle iron is used for making flanges off a flat plate.

Metal Density

Typically, metals are composed of closed-packed atoms. In metals, atoms lose electrons to form positive ions which are surrounded by delocalized electrons responsible for the conductivity. Electrostatic interactions hold the produced solid together between the ions and the electronic cloud. Shiny and lustrous, metals have a high density. Because of the strong metallic bonding, metals tend to have very high melting and boiling points.

Metal Conductivity

Generally, metals have high electrical and thermal conductivity. They are malleable and ductile that tends to deform under stress without cleaving. Their conductivities are a result of the delocalization of their outer electrons.

Metal Machinability

Metals that are highly machinable can be cut at high speeds and with more affordable band saw blades, drill bits, or milling tools. Less machinable metals can be cut using tools that are based on friction.

Metal Weldability

Metals that are easier to weld require less preparation and less welding expertise. Meanwhile, those that are more difficult to weld require more advanced welding equipment and higher welder dexterity. In some cases, welding these metals requires special considerations such as extra gas purging, exotic weld gases, and preheating.

Tensile Strength

This refers to the amount of force required for snapping a metal. If you prefer a stronger metal, you want one that has a higher tensile strength.

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