Base metals are any nonferrous (they contain no iron) metals that are neither precious metals nor noble metals. The most common base metals are copper, lead, nickel, tin, and zinc.
Base metals are used in a wide variety of applications. Copper is commonly used in electrical wiring because of its high ductility and conductivity. Lead has proven to be a reliable source for batteries, and nickel often is used to strengthen and harden metal alloys, including stainless steel. Base metals also are used frequently to coat other metals. For example, zinc is used to coat galvanized steel. Base metals are invaluable to the global economy because of their utility and ubiquity.