6 Metallurgy Terms You Need to Know

From iron and aluminum to copper and titanium, metals play an important role in our everyday lives. They are used in the construction of countless products and man-made goods. If you look around your surroundings, in fact, you’ll probably discover some metal items. In this post, we’re going to explore six common metallurgy terms.

#1) Ferrous

In metallurgy, ferrous refers to iron-based alloy. While iron is often used alone in various applications, it may be mixed with other metals or compounds, resulting in the formation of an alloy. If an alloy such as this contains a high concentration of iron, it’s considered a ferrous alloy or ferrous metal.

#2) Non-Ferrous

Non-ferrous, on the other hand, refers to metals and alloys that contain little or no iron. While ferrous metals are prized for their strength (see below), non-ferrous metals are lighter, offer better protection against corrosion and are more electrically conductive. Regardless, if a metal or alloy has little or no iron, it’s classified as non-ferrous. Ferrous metals are used more frequently than non-ferrous metals, but you can still find both types of metals used in nearly all industries.

#3) Strength

Strength refers to a metal’s resistance against permanent deformation under stress. Some metals are stronger than others. Titanium, for instance, is significantly stronger than aluminum, so it’s able to better retain its shape when exposed to stress. With that said, the strength of metal can be further broken down by yield strength, tensile strength, shear strength and compressive strength.

#4) Heat Treatment

Heat treatment is a metallurgy process that involves the use of heat to manipulate the shape, as well as other physical properties, of metal. When metal is heated to above its recrystallization point, it undergoes chemical changes that affects its physical properties. Heat treatment allows companies to modify the shape and physical properties of metal more easily.

#5) Elasticity

In metallurgy, elasticity refers to metal’s ability to bounce back to its original shape after being bent or otherwise deformed. Not all metals will bounce back when bent. Some will suffer from permanent deformation. Elasticity reflects a metal’s ability to bounce back to its original shape when bent.

#6) Brittleness

Finally, brittleness refers to metal’s susceptibility to breakage. Tungsten and magnesium, for example, are considered brittle because they are likely to break when stressed. It’s important to note that metals, as well as other materials, can be both strong and brittle. Brittle simply reflects a metal’s susceptibility to breakage when stressed.

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