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Uses Of Alloys
Uses of alloys are very much significant in human life. All substances that exist are formed primarily by elements. As long as the use of metal elements has increased, its alloys become equally useful and the count of alloys is increasing day by day.
Meaning of alloy
Alloy can be defined as a mixture combined with two or more elements. Elements with distinct materials are used to prepare alloy. It can be composed using a couple of metal substances or by combining a metal with a non-metal. These mixtures are prepared through several steps of melting, pouring, solidification, and many more. In industries, alloys are prepared in complex procedures.
Figure 1: Common alloys are in combination of various pure metals
The properties of an alloy generally are superior as compared to the properties of individual metals from where it has been derived. Magnalium, Bronze, Duralumin, and Brass are some examples of alloys. Alloys offer better strength and durability than their original metals or non-metals.
Characteristics of alloy
Alloys present different properties than the original substances are composed of.
Important characteristics commonly found in alloys are mentioned below −
It is one of the very important properties of alloys responsible for their initial employment for usage. Steel is the alloy where the participant elements are iron and carbon. The alloy offers better properties than iron after the addition of carbon.
Ductility and Malleability
Some metals are changed into sheets by transformation and this property is called malleability. Most metals can be shaped into thread or wire form using this property called ductility. Both of these properties are well utilized in gold alloy. Pure gold is easily deformable and very soft. If it is mixed with a foreign element, the deformation can be avoided and the gold alloy can be used to give any shape.
Magnetizability of an alloy can be altered by tweaking the composing elements. Magnetic induction of Steel can be controlled by including or excluding manganese.
Element decay occurs due to the unwanted and natural process of corrosion. Making Alloy helping things to become non-corrosive. Bronze is less corrosive than copper.
Advantages of Alloy
An alloy is more advantageous than its pure elements. Some common alloys with its advantages are discussed below −
The melting points of pure metals are generally very high. Making alloy helps them to melt in reduced temperatures.
The tensile strength of an alloy is more than its parent elements. Hardness of metal can be increased by adding other non-metal or metal to it.
Metals have extreme susceptibility to weather and chemical attacks. Alloys offer better inertness than pure metals and also corrosion resistant.
The contraction of metals occurs during solidification. The preparation of an alloy from its pure metal, offers expansion during solidification and better castings are obtained as a result.
A special advantage of creating alloy is a colour change. Alloys are created to present a different colour from parent metals.
Compositions of Some Alloys
Some alloys and their components are mentioned below −
|Name of alloy||Components|
|Bronze||88% of copper and 12% of tin|
|Brass||15 to 40% of zinc and 60 to 85% of copper|
|Steel||Iron and few amounts (1%) of carbon|
|Alnico||Aluminium, cobalt, and nickel|
|Cast iron||2 to 4% of carbon and 96 to 98% of iron|
|Solder||Lead and tin|
|Sterling silver||92.5% of silver and 7.5% of copper or other metal|
|Nichrome||Chromium, nickel, and iron|
|Magnalium||Magnesium and aluminium|
|Duralumin||Copper and aluminium|
Table 1: Different alloys and composition of possible parent metal
Some common usages of alloys in everyday life are described below −
Construction of bridges, railways, airports, and roads has the use of steel. Many items used for household needs are also made with steel.
Bronze is used to make medals, musical instruments, and mini sculptures.
Brass alloy is used to make door handles, locks, doorknobs, zippers, electrical appliances. The alloy is also used for making gifting items and decorations.
Alnico is used for creating permanent magnets.
Many surgical instruments, musical instruments, jewellery pieces and cutleries are made from sterling silver.
Figure 2: Elgiloy alloy parts
phynox alloy, Elgiloy alloy parts .2018JPG, CC BY-SA 4.0
Permanent joining is required for electrical components and solder is used for this purpose.
Aluminium alloys like, magnalium is known for its lightweight. These are used to make aircraft structure and parts.
A mercury alloy called amalgam is used for various medical purposes. Tooth cavities are filled with this alloy.
Gold alloys like rose gold is used to create jewellery.
In aerospace industries, extensive usage of an alloy called titanium occurs due to superplastic behaviour and strength of high-temperature tolerance.
An alloy is defined as a mixture of two or more metal or non-metal elements offering different or altered properties than pure metal or non-metal elements. There are some alloys of metal and non-metal elements, which offer better durability than parent substances. Alloys are made for getting enough hardness and can be used in daily life in huge amounts due to their inertness. Alloys of different metals offer features like non-corrosiveness, colour change, low melting point and many other features.
Q1. What difference do you find between metal and non-metal?
Ans. Metals are generally solid and shiny substances with high amounts of thermal and electrical conductivity. The melting and boiling points are high in metals. Non-metals are generally soft substances found in liquid, gaseous, or solid form.
Q2. Why magnalium is used?
Ans. Magnalium is an alloy made up of 5 wt. % magnesium and 95 wt. %aluminium. The alloy shows better temperature resistance and durability than aluminium. It is widely used in aerospace industries for constructing aircraft and aircraft parts.
Q3. What are the additional benefits of alloy or metals?
Ans. An alloy made of metals and non-metal offers better strength and durability. There are many other benefits including inertness, non-corrosiveness, ductility, and malleability.
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