This survey describes the essential part played in our lives at home and in industry and civilization, by metals as common as iron and as rare as praseodymium. The distribution of metals is discussed, with an analysis of the Earth's crust and descriptions of the mining and smelting of metallic ores and of the blending of metals to form alloys. Later chapters look at the properties and uses of all the major and minor metals, the use of metals in nuclear energy, the shaping of metals for tasks as varied as the making of a needle and a high-pressure gas cylinder, the casting of a bronze statue and a large marine propeller, and the latest methods of steel-making. The 10th edition includes a chapter on the competitors of metals such as timber, plastics, and carbon fibres, and new sections on coinage, conservation of materials and energy, the revolutionary impact of the silicon chip, space travel, lasers, superconductors and new projects such as the Channel Tunnel. This book has been updated and expanded to coincide with the book's 15th anniversary.