Why is scandium alloys used to make bicycle frames?


A small amount of scandium in an alloy makes it much stronger and reduces its weight. For this reason, scandium-aluminium alloys are used to make very strong and very expensive sports equipment, including bicycle frames and baseball bats.



A little bit of scandium is also used in mercury vapour lamps to produce a bright white light that is similar to daylight.



Scandium is a silvery-white metal, which develops a slightly yellowish or pinkish hue when exposed to air. Scandium was discovered by Lars Fredrik Nilson, a Scandinavian in 1876. He found it in the minerals euxenite and gadolinite, which had not yet been found anywhere except in Scandinavia. Apparently, there is much more scandium on the sun and many other stars than here on Earth.







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Why is titanium industrially important?


Titanium possesses many desirable qualities that make it a sought-after metal. It is extremely elastic, lightweight, corrosion-resistant and nonmagnetic. Titanium is as strong as steel, but much lighter. It is twice as strong as aluminium. It is nearly as resistant to corrosion as platinum.



            Titanium is used to make money clips used to hold bank notes and even credit cards. The alloys of titanium are used principally in the aerospace industry, where lightness of weight, strength and ability to withstand extremes of temperature are important.



Titanium is used to make alloys with aluminium, molybdenum, manganese, iron, and other metals. Titanium has excellent resistance to sea water, and is used to manufacture the parts of ships that are exposed to saltwater. Titanium paint is extensively used in solar observatories where heat causes poor viewing conditions.






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What are the uses of manganese?


Manganese resembles iron in its appearance, but it is harder than iron and brittle. It is an important component of steel. In fact, 95 per cent of the manganese produced in the world each year is used to make steel! It is also used to form many important alloys.



Apart from making steel, manganese is used to prepare oxygen and chlorine. It is also used to dry black paints. A compound of manganese is used as an additive in unleaded gasoline to reduce engine knocking. Oxides of manganese are used to neutralize the greenish tint of glasses. It was also used in the original type of dry cell battery.



Compounds of manganese were used to colour ceramics and glass since a long time. The brown colour of ceramics is usually the work of manganese. Manganese is occasionally used to make coins as well.





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Why are the filaments of electric bulbs made of tungsten?


Tungsten is widely used to make the filaments of electric bulbs. But, tungsten is not the only metal that conducts electricity well. There are other metals like gold and silver that are also good conductors of electricity. Then why is tungsten preferred?



Tungsten is not only a good conductor; it also has a very high melting point. In fact, tungsten has the highest melting point, and lowest vapour pressure of all metals. Because of this, the filaments made of tungsten glow more brightly and produce more light without melting, than if they were made of say, silver or copper.



The high melting point of tungsten makes it the ideal metal for making electrical heating coils, cathode ray tubes found in television sets, computer monitors, X-ray tubes and microwave ovens. It is also used to make switches for very high voltage lines.




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What are the major uses of cadmium?


Cadmium occurs naturally in the Earth’s crust. However, cadmium is a poison and is known to cause cancer and even birth defects. One of the major uses of cadmium is to make rechargeable nickel cadmium batteries. Though there was a steep rise in the use of these batteries over the past few decades, it is being gradually phased out.



Cadmium is used to make specialist alloys. Compounds of cadmium are used to colour paints and ceramic. It is also used as stabilizers that prevent plastics from becoming brittle, and for television and computer screens.



Cadmium is also used as coatings to protect metals such as iron and steel. Metal parts coated with cadmium slide over each other easily; therefore, some parts of cars and aircraft are cadmium coated.



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