Alloys can be defined as the combination of metals or combination of metals with one or more non-metallic elements which are formed to improve the properties of main metals in terms of strength, durability, and ability to conduct different activities.
The outcome of the process of combining a pure metal with one or more other metals or non-metals, to improve properties of pure metal is termed as an alloy.
Following are some of the examples of alloys which are used in our daily life. Scroll further to know more details about them.
Bronze is the first alloy that was discovered which consists of 85-88% copper, 12-12.5% tin, and with the addition of some other metals like aluminum, manganese, zinc or nickel in small proportions. This mixture is made to improve the properties of copper.
Use: Bronze is used in making of sculptures, musical instruments, medals, and in industrial applications.
Steel is an alloy of iron with about 1% carbon and may contain some other elements like manganese, etc. Steel is made as it posses the property of being tough, hard, and corrosion-resistant.
Use: Being a cheap alloy, it is used widely in the construction of roads, railways, airports, bridges, skyscrapers, etc. Not only this, steel is used in the manufacturing of major appliances, and also in making of different construction materials, household products, etc.
Types of Steel
- Carbon Steel: Carbon steel is a steel which consists of carbon up to 2.1% by weight.
- Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is also known as inox steel which consists of a minimum proportion of 11% chromium by mass and maximum of 1.2% of carbon by mass.
- Tool Steel: Tool steel is a high-quality carbon and alloy steels with the carbon content of 0.5% and 1.5%. It is used the manufacturing of tools, which are required in shaping the other materials.
- Alloy Steel: Alloy steel is made by combining carbon steel with one or more alloying elements like manganese, silicon, nickel, titanium, copper, chromium, and aluminum.
Brass is similar to Bronze; the only difference is that bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, while brass is an alloy of copper and zinc with some other elements like arsenic, lead, phosphorus, aluminum, manganese, and silicon. This alloy is made to improve the electrical and mechanical properties.
Use: Brass is used in the manufacturing of decoration items, locks, zippers, gears, doorknobs, musical instruments, etc. It’s also used for the plumbing purpose and electrical applications.
Types of Brass
- Alpha Brass: Alpha brass consists of more than 65% of copper and less than 35% of zinc. It has only one phase and is malleable, ductile, can be worked cold, and for welding, pressing, forging, or similar applications.
- Alpha-Beta Brass: Alpha-Beta has a 55-65% proportion of copper and 35-45% of zinc. It is also known as duplex brass and is suitable for hot workings. It has both alpha and beta phases, that’s why it is more stronger than alpha brass.
- Beta Brass: Beta Brass has a proportion of 50-55% of copper and 45-50% of zinc. It is made from the beta structure and that’s why it is stronger than alpha and alpha-beta brass. It can only be worked hot.
- Gamma Brass: Gama Brass has a proportion of 33-39% of copper and 61-67% of zinc.
- White Brass: White Brass consists of less than 50% proportion of copper and more than 50% proportion of zinc. It is brittle and has a silver appearance instead of yellow.
Alnico is an alloy of iron with aluminum, nickel, and cobalt. The name is an acronym of Al-Ni-Co (aluminum, nickel, and cobalt). The alnico is ferromagnetic and is called as the strongest type of magnet after neodymium and samarium cobalt.
Use: Alnico alloy is used to make permanent magnets.
Solder is a fusible metal alloy used to connect the metal workpieces permanently. It’s an alloy of tin and lead, with traces of some other metals.
Use: This alloy is being used to form a permanent connection between electrical components.
6. Cast Iron
Cast iron is an alloy of iron that contains 96-98% of iron, 2-4% of carbon, and some traces of silicon. Cast iron has a low melting point, castability, machinability, good fluidity, resistance to deformation, and wear resistance.
Use: It is used in the metal structures like bridges and heavy-duty cookware.
7. Sterling Silver
Sterling Silver is an alloy of silver with 92.5% of silver and 7.5% of other metal, usually copper. Silver gets tarnished very easily. So, to reduce the tarnishing, copper along with several other metals is mixed with silver to form an alloy called sterling silver. It also improves the strength and hardness of silver.
Use: Sterling silver is used in making cutlery, jewelry, musical instruments, and different medical tools.
8. White Gold
White gold is an alloy of gold with at least one white metal, usually silver, nickel or palladium.
Use: Gold-Nickel alloy is hard and strong. It is used in making rings and pins. Gold-Palladium allow is soft and is used for white gold gemstone settings that increases the strength and durability.
9. Rose Gold
Rose gold is a gold-copper alloy. This alloy was first used in Russia during the nineteenth century and is also called as Russian gold. The other names of rose gold is pink gold and red gold.
Use: It is used for making wedding rings, bracelets, and other jewelry.
10. Wood’s Metal
Wood’s metal is an alloy that consists of 50% of bismuth, 26.7% of lead, 13.3% of tin, and 10 % of cadmium by weight. Barnabas Wood invented the wood’s metal alloy.
Use: Generally, Wood’s metal is used as a valve element in the fire sprinkler systems installed in the buildings. It is also used in machine shops, technical laboratories, repairing antiques, etc.
Nichrome is various alloys of nickel, chromium, and iron. This alloy is widely used as a resistance wire. It has a high melting point, low cost of manufacture, strength, ductility, resistance to the flow of electrons, and resistance to oxidation. Due to all such properties of nichrome, it is widely used in heating elements.
Use: It is used in explosives and fireworks industries, and the making of heating elements.