A metal alloy is a mixture of one metal with other metals or non-metals. Alloys are created to expand and enhance the functionality and workability of the metal. These alloys carry attributes the original metals do not, such an increased ability to fight corrosive elements. These products are specifically made to create desirable effects that increase the effectiveness of the metals.
Aluminium is known for its light weight and its ability to strengthen when cold worked. According to the All Metals & Force Group website, to increase its strength aluminium is combined with elements including manganese, silicon, copper, magnesium and zinc. Aluminium alloys start to lose their strength at higher temperatures.
Copper carries a wide range of properties, including resistance to corrosive elements and an increased level of electrical conductivity. Copper alloys are sorted into groups; coppers, high-copper alloys, brasses, bronzes, aluminium bronzes, silicon bronzes and copper nickels. These alloys do not have a clearly marked yield point, the point where elastic material under stress stops behaving elastically. There are more than 350 commercial copper and copper-alloy formulations.
There are five categories of steel alloys: carbon steels, high strength low alloy steels, quenched and tempered steels, heat treatable low alloy steels and chromium-molybdenum steels. Steel alloys are carbon steels mixed with chemical elements. According to the All Metals & Force Group website, this is done to change the steel's mechanical or physical properties. The addition of lead vastly improves the workability of steels. A common steel alloy is stainless steel.
Gold alloys are created to balance the softness of gold. It is too soft for use on its own, so it's hardened by adding copper, silver, nickel, palladium or zinc. The colour of the final product is reliant on the ratio of the alloys, and can vary from white to yellow to red. Alloying gold increases its strength and hardness but limits its ability to be shaped.