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Metals

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Buildings: Strong and Tall at the same time?

Why is the Transamerica Pyramid so sturdy while being so tall?

License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco [Figure1]


Metals are the elements on the left and middle columns of the periodic table, with the exception of Hydrogen. They all have a lower number of valence electrons than the non-metals and gases. This property allows metals to be ductile, malleable, and a good heat or electrical conductor. They also have low ionization energy and low electronegativity.

Large skyscrapers like the ones you see in San Francisco would be impossible to build without metals.

Creative Applications

1. What properties of metals allows skyscrapers to be the way they are?

2. Steel is the primary material used for skyscrapers. It is an alloy, a substance that is made of a mixture of two or more metals. Do some research to find what elements make up steel.

3. How would it feel different if you were to live in a steel house rather than a wooden house?

4. Play around with metals yourself. Find a piece of thin copper wire and use a plier to form a model building.

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  1. [1]^ License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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