Alloys are metals that are made up of one metal and a couple of other metals or other elements. We have heard this term used in many areas but most people usually confuse alloy metals with steel. Though, steel is an example of an alloy metal.
Properties of Alloy Metals
As we have already stated, alloys are metals that are made up of more than one metal and a couple of other metals or non-metal elements. What this simply means is that metals used in this case have individual properties such as good heat and electricity conductivity, different hardness, strength and lastly different degrees of corrosion resistance.
When one metal is combined with another, these properties can change. Individual alloys try to combine these properties and eventually express their own individual properties.
The main reason why alloys came into existence was to combine these individual properties to come up with additional properties to increase their use and reduce instances of problems encountered when individual metals are used.
This simply shows that the alloys have better properties that actually increase the usefulness of the metal. A good example of a metal alloy is steel, which combines iron and carbon to get a more corrosion resistant metal. After these combinations are applied, steel is stronger and lighter than Iron. This increases the usability of such alloys as opposed to individual metals such as Iron.
The precise properties of individual alloys are very hard to distinguish. These properties are directly affected by the type of combinations initiated. If Iron is mixed with carbon to make steel, you can expect that steel will have some properties of carbon and those of iron.
The other thing to note is that metals and non-metal elements are not combined to become the sum of the parts. This in simple terms means that the resulting alloys may fail to possess any properties from any side of the math.
The alloys will form through some sort of chemical interactions to form something very different. There are several methods that are also applied along the way to achieve the desired end results. In simple terms, there are many testing processes required along the way to make sure the end result is as planned.
To alloy metals, temperature is a vital factor. What makes the difference is the melting point of individual metals and how easy they can combine when initiated to do so.
Examples of Alloy Metals
There are several examples of alloys. They all differ because of the metals and other elements used. The processes used to make them also make the difference.
- Steel-Steel is the most common type of alloys. This is essentially the reason why you will hear many people referring to alloys as steel. Steel is made through a process that facilitates the combination of a (iron) a metal and carbon (nonmetal element). You can view quality examples of stainless steel bar stock on OnlineMetalsDepot.
- Bronze-This is the second most popular example of alloy. It is essentially a combination of copper which is a metal and tin which is also a metal.
- Brass-Brass is a mixture of copper and zinc which are both metals.
In examples that contain a combination of two metals, the end results might possess some properties from the two sides, like it’s the case with copper and zinc which are both good conductors of electricity and heat.
There’s no specific composition because new alloys are popping up every single year all of which contain different compositions. However, accepted standard composition includes the purity levels of consistent elements. This is usually based on the weight content. The other things are the makeup and the physical properties of common alloys. These standards are set by International Organizations. There are many such Organizations including the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), SAE International and ASTM International.
How Are Alloys Made?
There are different approaches in this case. Alloys are made differently depending on the elements combined. There are some metal alloys that occur naturally while others are made in a manufacturing plant. Alloys that occur naturally require little processing. An example of alloys that occurs naturally includes the Ferro alloys including Ferro-silicon and Ferro-Chromium.
With that in mind, it’s very easy and simply to assume that alloying metals is simple and a very straightforward process. This is not true because there are several testing and other sophisticated processes involved. The fact remains that not all metals mix perfectly. If you attempted to mix molten Aluminum and Molten lead, then you would later notice that the two will eventually separate into layers.
Steel and many other commercial alloys require a lot of processing. They are actually made through a process that combines two elements whether Iron and Carbon or Copper and Tin. The environment must be controlled.
The processes of making individual metals and other non-metal elements is sophisticated and depends on the individual properties of the elements being used.
What Are The Differences in Production?
Different metals vary greatly in their properties and several other aspects. This is actually what makes the difference when someone is combining them to get their individual alloys. Here are additional things that make the difference.
- The impurity levels
- Individual tolerance to heat
- Melting temperatures of individual metals
- The alloying procedures
What Are Alloys Used For?
We have already stated that the main reason why people would opt for alloys is because they are better in terms of strength, weight and corrosion tolerance than their individual metals. With that in mind, you would expect that many people are using them for different purposes. Here are some of the uses:
- Alloys are used to make steel hoses for transporting fluids and enduring great pressure
- Alloys are used in the production of stainless steel metal sheets and other related items.
- You will find alloys used in the construction industry to make buildings and bridges because they are string and rust resistant.
- Alloys are used in medicine because they are easy to sterilize and do not rust.