Print Friendly, PDF & Email
a hammer and a bent nail in some wood

Bending a nail

You can do an experiment to see that metal bends easily. Just take an iron nail and hit it with a hammer and if you don’t hit it right on center it will bend. Or, take a piece of copper electrical wire – that will bend even more easily.

cooking in a metal saucepan

Stirring with a metal spoon

You can also check out how easily heat flows through metal. This is one way that the electrons move from one metal atom to another. When you are boiling water in a saucepan, like to make noodles or soup, wait until the water is hot. Stit it with a long-handled iron (steel) spoon, and in just a few seconds the other end of the spoon will begin to get hot (then take out the spoon so you don’t burn your fingers!).

stirring food in a metal saucepan with a wooden spoon

Stirring with a wooden spoon

If you try this with a rubber spatula, a rock, or a wooden spoon, the end you’re holding won’t get hot, because silica and carbon atoms don’t pass electrons along as easily as metal atoms do. That’s why we usually use wooden spoons to stir hot food when we are cooking.

How do people use metal?
More about metal

Bibliography and further reading about metal:

Chemistry home