Do you want to know or be reminded about what are alloys, types of alloys, composition of alloys and uses of alloys as well as the role of mining industries or metallurgical industries or better still the alloy industries play in the manufacture of alloys as well as trading of alloys ( selling alloys and buying alloys)? If your answer is yes then read on!
Alloys are combination of at least one metal with other chemical elements (metallic or nonmetallic) to form a solution or chemical compound that retains metallic properties. One thing peculiar about alloys is that a number of properties of alloys are significantly different from the properties of their components.
Classification of Alloys in Terms of Number of Components
Based on the number of components that present in alloys, alloys can be classified into three (3) which are:
1. Binary alloys: These are alloys with two components
2. Ternary alloys: These are alloys having three components
3. Quaternary alloys: These are alloys having o four components.
There are mainly two (2) types of alloys which are:
1. Substitutional alloys: These are alloys formed by the substitution or exchange of the atoms that make up the elements of which the alloys are composed of based based on both the size and amount of the elements in the mixture. In other words, due to similarities in sizes of the atoms within the elements, the atoms of the elements that make the metals are interchanged with atoms of the other metals. For example bronze and brass are substitutional alloys because some of the copper atoms are substituted with either tin or zinc atoms.
2. Interstitial Alloys: These are alloys formed in which because one atom is smaller than the other hence the atom cannot replace the other atom in the crystals of the base metal and so the smaller atoms are held firmly in the spaces between the atoms in the crystal matrix called interstitices giving rise to what is called form what is interstitial alloys. Steel is an example of an interstitial alloy, because the very small carbon atoms fit into interstices of the iron matrix.
3. Combined Alloys: These are alloys that combine the mode of formation of substitutional alloys and interstitial alloys because while the carbon atoms fit into the interstices however some of the iron atoms are replaced with nickel and chromium atoms as seen in stainless steel ( an example of a combination of interstitial and substitutional alloys ).
Typical examples of alloys are steel (consist of the metal iron and the non metal carbon), stainless steel ( which is a combination of iron, chromium and nickel ), solder ( a type of alloy whose melting point is lower than that of metal workpieces and so makes it to be used in joining pieces of metal works together ), bronze ( composed of the two metals copper and tin), brass ( consisting of the two metals copper and zinc), sterling silver ( a combination of copper and silver), pewter (consisting of larger percentage of tin than copper, bismuth, alimony and sometimes lead and silver ), Duralumin ( consisting of aluminum, copper, magnesium and manganese. Duralumin can also be called duraluminum, duralum, duraluminium, duralium or dural), phosphor bronze (consisting mainly of the two metals copper and tin plus a very little percentage of the nonmetal phosphorus ) and amalgam ( consisting of mercury with another metal except iron). Some known examples of almagams includes sodium amalgam, ammonium amalgam, aluminium amalgam, potassium amalgam, gold amalgam, thallium amalgam, tin amalgam and dental amalgam.
Alloys like metals have both physical and chemical properties together with mechanical properties. Alloys have a number of properties which includes but not limited to density, reactivity, electrical conductivity, and thermal conductivity but also good tensile strength, shear strength, resistance to deformation and lack sharp melting point.
Alloys are used in many industries some of which are in marine, medical, military, commercial, industrial, residential and manufacturing applications.
Due to advanced researches and increase in technical know-hows in manufacturing of alloys there are quite higher number of new alloys be formed with different uses. Among the lots of alloys and various uses find below are some alloys and their uses by manufacturers.
1. Wood’s metal: used for making castings of firearm chambers by gunsmiths
2. Sterling silver: used for making cutlery, musical instruments (flute and saxophone), etc.
3. Brass: Used for making springs, screws, rivets, etc.
4. Bronze: Used in making medals,
musical instruments (cymbals), etc.
5. Solder: Used for joining metal pieces together in plumbing and electronic/electrical work.
6. Type metal: Used in printing e.g typesetting used to press ink onto paper.
7. Steel: Used in surgical equipment, building, cutlery, shipbuilding, pipelines, mining, offshore construction, aerospace, white goods (e.g. washing machines), heavy equipment such as bulldozers, office furniture, steel wool, tools, and armour, etc .
8. Cupronickel: Used in making coins and nickel
9. Pewter: Used in making spoons,
tankards, plates, dishes, basins, vases, etc.
The alloy industries are more or less part of the mining industries or metallurgical industries. This is because majority of metallurgical industries that specialize in extraction of metals either produce just the metals or are also involved in the manufacture of alloys. Since alloys are combination of at least one metal and at least one nonmetal, it becomes known that without the metal industries (metallurgical industries) producing the metals, alloys cannot be manufactured. Hence there is a close relationship between the mining industries and alloy industries. Advances in technology and researches is now making new alloys to be manufactured. This can attest to the fact that the alloy industries will continue to grow as long there is advancement in technology as well as researches undertaken geared towards the production of unknown alloys. The market potential is on the increase for manufacturers of alloys, local buyers of alloys, local sellers of alloys, exporters of alloys and importers of alloys. This without fail leaves room for alloy business opportunities or alloy investment opportunities locally and internationally. Most importantly, Metal recycling companies can also benefit in the market boom through buying of scrap metals or selling of scrap metals which when recycled can be used by alloy industries instead of relying on virgin metals (metals extracted directly from metallic ores).
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