Alloys have been around for centuries, and are found in nearly everything we use each day, from the butter knife to spread butter on our toast, to the engine parts in our car, to the tiny microchips that allow our cell phones to function like mini-computers. Alloys are of particular importance in the industrial and manufacturing sectors because the particular properties of an alloy often have a very major impact on the function of a product, material, or piece of equipment. So what exactly are alloys, and why is choosing the right alloy for the job important?
What are Alloys?
Although pure metals can be used in incredible ways, oftentimes these metals are not well suited for certain tasks on their own. In order to make these metals stronger, longer lasting, harder, lighter, more conductive, less reactive, or whatever else might be needed, an alloy must be made. An alloy is a compound consisting of a combination of materials, containing a main metal, which typically consists of about 90% of the alloy, along with other chemical components that are used in much smaller quantities.
The Right Alloy Matters
By joining materials into an alloy, a stronger and more durable substance is created that can better suit the task at hand by being more versatile, performing better under stress, and being much more corrosion-resistant than the metal originally would be when used all by itself.
Selecting the right alloy for a fabrication job will create the ideal compound needed for the application, leading to a quality made, longer lasting, more resilient product. Alloys all have different properties, and the right combinations can be crucial for specific industries, such as aviation, computer technology, construction, medical equipment, military use, and transportation.
How to Select the Best Alloy for Your Needs
When selecting the right allow for the job, there are certain considerations to keep in mind. Paying special attention to what specific function the alloy will serve and considering the needs of the job can help narrow down what metal alloy will be best. The following items are all points that should be considered when choosing an alloy for a particular fabrication job:
- Corrosion and Heat Resistance – Being able to resist rust, withstand underwater use, and endure temperatures of extreme heat makes certain alloys ideal for applications in extreme conditions and under intense circumstances.
- Conductivity – Metals that can conduct electricity and thermal heat safely and efficiently, such as copper alloys, are pivotal in electrical components such as heaters and appliances.
- Plasticity – A metal’s ability to be stretched into wire (ductility) or hammered into a sheet (malleability) may be a deciding factor for the metal alloy needed.
- Strength – Requiring a metal that is both incredibly resilient as well as extremely strong is often a concern in fabrication production, which is why alloys are so pivotal when strength is a necessity. Steel alloys are much stronger and more durable in an alloy than they are alone, as is aluminum and magnesium.
- Weight – Lightweight alloys can be essential to a project when mass is a factor. Magnesium, titanium and aluminum alloys are all incredibly lightweight and strong, making them ideal for use in any bulk-conscious production.
- Welding Suitability – Welding joins two metal pieces together, helping to create larger, more homogeneous metal pieces for structures. An alloy’s ability to be welded should be studied when considering certain alloys for fabrication.
The Right Alloy for Your Fabrication Needs
Polaris offers an extensive range of fabrication services and industrial solutions. We know how important it is to use the right alloy for the job to get optimal results. We also have the experience and resources necessary to work with a wide range of different alloys. Please contact us to discuss your fabrication and industrial needs.