Metal is something that we use every day. You may own stainless steel appliances, tools that are made of metal, or even jewelry that is made from metals like silver and gold, but did you know that metal is used in other ways as well. Life as we know it would not be the same without metal, especially when it comes to medicine and technology. Let me show you what I mean; here are a few of the uses for metal that we do not typically consider.
For Hospital Sanitation
Did you ever look at the sinks in a hospital? In a lot of locations, they are made of copper because of the antiseptic properties that can be found within the metal. When a physician washes their hands, the germs that come in contact with the copper will die within an hour. Silver and gold have the same effect, but not to the same extent, which is why many medical tools and instruments are constructed from these metals.
To Eliminate Foot Odor
Silver is a metal that is antimicrobial, which means that it is a great tool to use when your foot odor is unbearable. To fight smelly feet, some clothing companies actually put tiny silver particles inside of socks and shoes so that they smell fresh for a longer period of time.
It Helps to Fight Cancer
Cancer is something that touches most of our lives, and the medications to treat cancer are typically harsh, but did you know that the top cancer medications in the world have Cisplatin in them? This is a compound that is found in platinum, and when it is used to treat cancer, the chance of remission goes from only 10 percent to nearly 85 percent.
In Military Technology
Military technology is some of the most advanced technology on the planet. The airplanes, land vehicles, and satellites use beryllium to increase the strength of the devices. This also includes military applications that would be used during times of war like nuclear missiles and other devices. Without the use of metal, a lot of the technology that keeps our nation so advanced would not even be part of the picture.
To Repairing Broken Bones
When you break a bone, the doctor that repairs the damage will often use metal pins or screws to secure the bone in place. In fact, sometimes metal plates are used during surgery because the bone is so badly damaged that it cannot stay intact with the cast alone.
Before the discovery that metal could help fuse the bones together so that they can heal, a severely broken arm or leg would have been amputated because there was a very slim chance that the bone would heal. Now, using metal to assist with the healing process is a standard practice used in most hospitals.
To Keep Our Bodies Functioning
You have probably always heard that it is important to get enough vitamins and minerals into your body, but did you know that some of the minerals that your body requires to function are actually metals? Potassium, sodium, and magnesium are all metals that are essential in the human body. These metals are what help our brain communicate with the rest of our body, so it is actually a very important aspect of your anatomy.
Think about it this way, when you have gas, you typically take a medication that has magnesium in it. You do this because the metal that is contained in the medication will relieve the heartburn that you are experiencing. Additionally, bismuth, which is a metal, is the prime ingredient of Pepto Bismol. Many antacids also contain aluminum, which is another type of metal.
To Reflect Sunlight
Have you seen the gold visors used by astronauts? Well, these visors are basically designed the way that they are so that they reflect the sunlight. If you think that the sun is bright on earth, think how bright it would be in space.
Gold is also a metal that is often used to coat the windows of large buildings. This is because the material is great for reflecting the sunlight, which means that the company can save money during the sweltering months of the summer by controlling the amount of heat that the sun creates inside of the building.
As a Reflective Material
Most mirrors have a metal backing that helps the glass pick up your reflection with ease. Years ago, mirrors were actually made out of polished silver. The material was so reflective that glass was not often used to help keep the price of mirrors to a minimum. Today, metal is still used as the reflective material inside of a mirror, but often cheaper metals like aluminum are used instead of actual silver.
To Conduct Electricity
Many of the electronics that you use on a daily basis are designed with metal components. Without the metal components inside of your cell phone, you would not be able to call or text anyone. Computers, televisions, and refrigerators also use metal in their construction, and in most situations, this metal is copper because it is so effective at conducting electricity.
For Lighting Our Homes
Now, when we talk about lighting, we do not mean the electricity, the actual light bulb is where the metal is actually being used here. Have you ever looked inside of a light bulb? Well, there is a small filament inside of each incandescent bulb that you have in your home. These filaments are made from tungsten, which itself is a metal, but there is other metal inside of a light bulb as well that forms a bridge from the tungsten filament to the metal that the electricity is flowing through. Without the metal inside of light bulbs, we would still be using candles and lanterns to illuminate our homes.
As you can see, metal plays a big role in our day-to-day lives, and many of the uses for metal are things that we do not typically consider. Now that you know the role that metal has in modern times, think about how different your life would be without it.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Federal Steel Supply, Inc., a leading steel tubing suppliers of carbon, alloy and stainless steel pipe, tubes, fittings and flanges.