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What is a metal?
What is a metal?

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What is a metal?


You will have little hesitation in distinguishing the metal blade of a kitchen knife from the handle which is probably made of plastic or wood. But what really distinguishes a metal from a non-metal? Metals are used in many different ways, such as in jewellery, pots and pans and in wires for conducting electricity and you can probably think of many other examples of metal use. Each metal has its own personal signature and metals can be identified experimentally by being burnt in a naked flame. In this course you will start exploring some of the characteristic properties of metals that allow their varied uses in our everyday lives. You will also undertake an online experiment to identify metals using a ‘flame test’.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course S111 Questions in science [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .