From aircraft and military industries to medical and manufacturing industries, alloys are essential for a diverse range of enterprises. There are several types of alloys, each with specific applications and manufacturing processes. Let us explore the types, applications, and benefits of alloys in this blog.
What does Alloy mean?
An alloy is a mixture of elements. Here, the elements can be all metals or metals combined with non-metallic elements. There can be several elements in a single alloy, however, there has to be one metal among them.
For instance, when we combine the metallic elements silver and gold, we get an alloy called white gold. This protects the gold from tarnishing or corroding yet still provides the jewellers with a more malleable and easier substance to make intricate designs on. Similarly, the metallic element iron combined with the non-metallic carbon produces the alloy steel. Steel is much stronger and resistant to fractures than iron.
Thus, combining pure metals with other substances enhances their properties. These properties can be anything, conductivity, malleability, density, ductility, and even melting and boiling points.
How are alloys manufactured?
Through the process of alloying, almost all metallic elements are used in major industries as alloys. Usually, alloys are produced via combining commercially pure elements. Combining these elements can be a tedious and difficult process when they are in their solid-state. This is why the base metal of the alloy is usually melted and brought into its liquid state before the process of combination starts and the alloying agents are added.
There are three major ways how alloys are manufactured. First, is the traditional way of manufacturing alloys which involves heating the components of the alloy and melting them into liquids. Then, they are mixed thoroughly and then left to cool down. This mixture cools into a solid solution which is the solid equivalent of a liquid solution like sugar and water.
The second way of manufacturing alloys is through the technique of powder metallurgy. This technique involves turning the elements of the alloy into powders. Then, these powders are mixed and then fused. The fusion is generally carried out with the help of very high temperatures as well as high pressure.
An alternative process of manufacturing alloys is through ion implantation. This method is used when the alloys need to be very precise, mostly used for manufacturing computer circuits and semiconductors. This process involves the firing of a beam of ions onto the surface of the base metal in a controlled surrounding.
What are the types of alloys?
The first-ever kind of alloy that came to use was bronze during the Bronze Age, which was made up of copper and tin. Since then, humans have discovered several kinds of alloys and their various usages. Here are the four most important types of alloys:
● Aluminium Alloys
While aluminium is not that strong of a metal, it has high conductive properties. This is why manufacturers mix this metal with other metals and elements to strengthen it and make it more efficient. For example, magnalium is an alloy that consists of aluminium and a little bit of magnesium to make alloy wheels for vehicles and instruments.
● Copper Alloys
Copper can oxidise very easily, turning a pale green colour. To improve its strength as well as to prevent it from oxidising, elements such as zinc and aluminium is added to copper to make brass and bronze respectively.
● Iron Alloys
To prevent iron from oxidising, carbon is added to it to make steel. Steel is then used in the construction and manufacturing of appliances.
● Gold Alloys
As a precious metal, gold is a soft metal and has very little strength. Copper and silver, among other elements, are added to it to make alloys like yellow gold and white gold respectively.
What are the applications of alloys?
The application of an alloy depends on its type. As there are numerous types of alloys, the applications of them also know no bound. Here are some of the most significant alloys along with their uses:
● Amalgam (mercury with silver, zinc, tin, copper): Used in dental fillings
● Brass (copper and zinc): Used in musical instruments, locks and bolts.
● Bronze (copper and tin): Used to make decorative statues.
● Cupronickel (copper and nickel): Used to manufacture coins.
● Solder (tin and copper): Used to join electrical components.
● Stainless Steel (Iron with chromium, nickel, and carbon): Used for making utensils and surgical instruments.
● Nitinol (nickel and titanium): Used in medical components
● Monel (nickel with copper and very small amounts of silicon, carbon, iron, and manganese): Used in manufacturing the body of airplanes
Why are alloys harder than metals?
Alloys are much harder and stronger than pure metals. While the atoms of any pure metal are arranged uniformly and are the same in size, it is not the case for alloys. Alloys are made up of an amalgamation of different sizes of atoms due to the different elements that are combined.
The different sizes of these atoms make it much difficult for the compound to have a regular arrangement of atoms and thus, it is more difficult for the layers of atoms to snugly slide over each other. This particular characteristic of the structure of an alloy makes it harder than most pure metals and also makes it less malleable and ductile.
Phoenix Alloy Company Overview
The company Shanghai Phoenix Alloy Co., Ltd. is known for manufacturing and providing high-quality alloys and specialty metals for over twenty years. They source the elements for manufacturing alloys ethically and make sure that they are of the highest quality.
The company assures quick delivery of their products and efficiently solves inventory management problems of any company. Their sales team is adept at finding any size or type of alloy that a factory might need. Moreover, the Phoenix Alloy company has a dependable team of experts to help out any customer who is facing any kind of technical problems with their products.
In a nutshell, they ship standard stock material quickly, solve technical problem relating to expansion, magnetic, refractory or other high-tech material applications, have programs to streamline the manufacturing process. The company aims at maximizing the production of its clients.