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What is an Alloy?


Alloy Mixture of Two or More Chemical Elements

An alloy is a mixture of two or more chemical elements at least one of which is a metal.

Alloys are usually made by melting the metals and then mixing them together.  They're then left to cool and solidify.

Some of the most common alloys are;

  • Brass which is 35% zinc, 65% copper
  • Stainless steel which is 18% chromium, 80.6% iron, 1% nickel, 0.4% carbon
  • Steel is 99% iron, 1% carbon
  • Bronze is 87.5% copper, 12.5% tin
  • Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver, 7.5% other metals but usually copper

Modifying the properties of a metal by mixing it with another forms an alloy.

The reason for doing this is because pure metal is often too soft to be fit for purpose.  Creating an alloy adds strength and may also introduce other beneficial properties.

It could for example make a metal less prone to rust or make it a more efficient conductor of heat.

Alloys are always harder and stronger than metal in its purest form.

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