This is a white malleable metal which is a little softer than zinc. Its chief property is its remarkable lightness, being only about one-third the weight of iron. For sheet metal work its chief drawback is the difficulty with which it can be brazed or soldered.

It is never found in Nature in its pure state. Whilst it is the most widely diffused of all metals on the earth's surface, up to the present difficulty has been found in extracting it from its ores, which is the cause of its comparative dearness.