Nail (engineering)
In woodworking
Woodworking is the process of building, making or carving something using wood.-History:Along with stone, mud, and animal parts, wood was one of the first materials worked by early humans. Microwear analysis of the Mousterian stone tools used by the Neanderthals show that many were used to work wood...

 and construction
In the fields of architecture and civil engineering, construction is a process that consists of the building or assembling of infrastructure. Far from being a single activity, large scale construction is a feat of human multitasking...

, a nail is a pin
Pin (device)
A pin is a device used for fastening objects or material together. It is usually made of steel, or on occasion copper or brass. It is formed by drawing out a thin wire, sharpening the tip, and adding a head. Nails are related, but are typically larger....

-shaped, sharp object of hard metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

 or alloy used as a fastener
A fastener is a hardware device that mechanically joins or affixes two or more objects together.Fasteners can also be used to close a container such as a bag, a box, or an envelope; or they may involve keeping together the sides of an opening of flexible material, attaching a lid to a container,...

. Formerly wrought iron
Wrought iron
thumb|The [[Eiffel tower]] is constructed from [[puddle iron]], a form of wrought ironWrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon...

, today's nails are typically made of steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

, often dipped or coated to prevent corrosion
Corrosion is the disintegration of an engineered material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings. In the most common use of the word, this means electrochemical oxidation of metals in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen...

 in harsh conditions or improve adhesion
Adhesion is any attraction process between dissimilar molecular species that can potentially bring them in close contact. By contrast, cohesion takes place between similar molecules....

. Ordinary nails for wood are usually of a soft, low-carbon or "mild" steel (about 0.1% carbon, the rest iron and perhaps a trace of silicon or manganese). Nails for concrete are harder, with 0.5-0.75% carbon.

Nails are typically driven into the workpiece by a hammer
A hammer is a tool meant to deliver an impact to an object. The most common uses are for driving nails, fitting parts, forging metal and breaking up objects. Hammers are often designed for a specific purpose, and vary widely in their shape and structure. The usual features are a handle and a head,...

, a pneumatic nail gun
Nail gun
A nail gun, nailgun or nailer is a type of tool used to drive nails into wood or some other kind of material. It is usually driven by electromagnetism, compressed air , highly flammable gases such as butane or propane, or, for powder-actuated tools, a small explosive charge...

, or a small explosive charge or primer.