Web Based Learning Object
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An Introduction To Alloys Level 2

The first thing we can say, is that an alloy is a metallic composite -it is made of two or more different elements or compounds. I suppose the most important question is why would we want to mix two different elements or compounds. What would be the point.

Well, on their own, most metals have limited properties, for example, iron is a fairly soft material relative to others. It is only when other elements are added that the new material takes on different properties.

Creating alloys can almost be likened to a simple cooking process. By adding further ingredients and applying heat, a new alloy is creating which takes on all the characteristics of its combined constituent parts. The process of alloying enables material scientists to improve the quality of a metal in terms of its overall strength, its durability, its stress yield and its ability to withstand deformation.

Alloys can be group as either ferrous or non-ferrous. Cleary the term ferrous refers to the existence of iron as a constituent part.

When carbon, in particular, is alloyed to iron significant changes take place ie improved tensile strength. Wrought iron, steel and cast iron are all alloy derivatives of pure iron. The only thing that differentiates them is their carbon constituency.

Conversely, non-ferrous alloys rely on wider blends of metal composition. The principle metals covered in this category include, aluminium, copper, magnesium, nickel, titanium and zinc.


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Assessment:
Alloys are made up of two or more elements or compounds. Alloys themselves can fall between one of two groups, either ferrous or non-ferrous.

In the ferrous group, is the base to which other elements are added. When is added, specific changes occur to the new alloy. For example when more than carbon in added to iron, is derived. It's properties include an in tensile strength, an improvement in and deceases elongation.

Typically the composition of copper with zinc produces a range of composites whereas if tin is added to copper then the new alloy will be . As copper has specific properties relating to softness, malleability and , its uses are well known i.e. electrical components, wring and piping. Its' alloys however, tend to be used for more purposes.
 

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