Metal Alloys & Their Uses

Written by steve johnson
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Metal Alloys & Their Uses
Metal alloys play a critical role in construction projects. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A metal alloy is created by combining two or more different metals to form a new material. This new material is stronger than the individual metals used to create it. Metal alloys are used in almost every type of industry.

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Bronze

Bronze was one of the first metal alloys created, leading to a new age in human history. It is created by mixing copper with tin, combined with traces of aluminium, phosphorus, silicon and manganese. It was used to make statues during the Bronze Age and still today is one of the main materials used in creating statues. Many modern musical instruments, like bells and cymbals, are also made of bronze.

Steel

Steel, another metal alloy, is composed of iron mixed together with carbon. The amount of carbon content depends on the grade of the steel; carbon content can range from about .2 per cent to 2.1 per cent. Today, there are thousands of grades of steel that contain different amounts of carbon, as well as other elements. Some of the elements used in creating steel include nickel, chromium, manganese, tungsten and vanadium. Steel is commonly used in the construction of buildings and bridges. In homes, steel is used in the kitchen in the form of sinks, appliances and knives.

Aluminium Alloys

Aluminium alloys, as the name suggests, are mainly composed of aluminium. Other elements found in aluminium alloys include magnesium, silicon, zinc, manganese and copper. It is lighter and stiffer than steel and is used in a lot of applications, including automotive parts, household wires, bicycle frames, boat frames and parts, and even in aircraft construction.

Other Metal Alloys

Base metals are also used in making alloys. Some of these metals include gold, cobalt, copper, lead, mercury, potassium, silver, titanium, zinc and uranium. Gold and silver are primarily used in jewellery, as well as for creating parts of small electronic devices like mobile phones. Titanium alloys play a pivotal role in creating aircraft and automotive parts, while cobalt alloys---like megallium---are used in dentistry. Potassium alloys are used as coolants in vehicle engines, while mercury alloys are used in mining and gold extraction. Uranimum alloys play a part in making ammunition, while zinc alloys find their way into simple applications, such as fishing reels, staplers and door handles.

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