Ahoy Alloy!

by C.L. Hendricks - Date: 2008-10-24 - Word Count: 453 Share This!

What exactly is an alloy? Since alloys are part of our daily lives, it's important that we have some idea of exactly what an alloy is. An alloy is simply a metal that is made up of more than one element.  The reason for using an alloy rather than a pure metal is that there are certain properties that might be desired in a finished product that the pure metal just doesn't have. By combining two metals, one achieves a substance that has the best of all the elements.

Whether you are doing some backyard casting or looking for a investment casting manufacturer to produce your product, you need to understand the type of metal or alloy that product needs. The variety of alloys is in the hundreds, which each alloy resulting in specific properties; however, we going to look at two basic alloys used for investment casting: aluminum and nickel-based substances.

Aluminum Alloys

Aluminum is among the most lightweight of the various metals however it lacks the strength and corrosion resistance necessary for many applications. Therefore, metallurgists have learned to combine aluminum with various elements, such as copper, magnesium or zinc. This results in a metal that has great strength and resist corrosion.

These qualities are what make aluminum alloys so popular with a number of industries and for an incredible variety of applications. These aluminum alloys are widely used in the aerospace and electronics industries, as well as for military purposes. In addition, the automotive industry uses aluminum alloys in vehicle manufacturing of many motor and body parts.

Nickel-Based Alloys

Nickel is another element that is often used to combine with another metal for an alloy. A nickel alloy is especially desired in products that will be exposed to extremely high temperatures, a corrosive environment or structural stressors.  For the most part, extreme conditions are more destructive to stainless steel than it is to items that are made from a nickel-based alloy.  Not only that, but the nickel-based alloy casting will survive prolonged exposure to water better than pure metals or some other alloys.

Some of the other metals and elements that are frequently employed in creating a nickel alloy are cobalt, silicon, copper and iron. A couple of environments that use a lot of nickel alloy castings are the highly corrosive pulp and paper mills.

To Alloy or Not Alloy

Environment and function are the two basic considerations when deciding on what type of alloy to use for your investment castings.  Aluminum and nickel-based alloys are just two of the basic alloys available for investment casting purposes.  By knowing the possible environment that your casting might be exposed to, you will then be able to determine the best alloy combination.

Related Tags: aluminum alloys, investment castings, nickel-based alloys, alloy casting

C.L. Hendricks has been a Jill-of-all-trades and become an expert in some. She writes for http://www.shelmetcastings.com and http://www.survival-homestead.com, as well as several other websites on a variety of topics.

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