Metallurgy deals with the study of physical and chemical properties of metals. This science looks at how metals perform and react when used for industrial purposes. Metallurgy refers to the processes used to extract metals from ore. It’s also the procedure used for alloy production and metal purification. It is also used in metal crafting where metals and alloys are used to design and build furniture as well as works of art.
Metallurgy is also used by archaeologists to describe the study of ancient processes. These early processes were used to produce metal objects. They are also utilised in mine construction, quarrying and smelting. One of the earliest examples of metallurgy is copper hammering. The Old World Neolithic people first used native copper beginning sometime around 800 BC.
Cultures in the New World of South America began using native copper sometime between 3600 and 1500 BC. Smelting of copper began in Turkey somewhere around 6000 BC. This process was modified around this same time by adding lead to the smelting process.
About 5000 BC, mining for native metals and materials began. This activity provides a source of metals for native metallurgy. It is believed that gold was first discovered in Bulgaria as a result of mining for copper and lead. In the Americas, gold working started in Peru at the Jiskairumoko site, sometime between 3600 and 1500 BC.
One of the most popular processes in metallurgy is panning for gold. While gold mining methods have changed and improved over the years, processes used in gold panning are much the same as they were thousands of years ago. Since gold is much heavier than water, gold pieces sink to the bottom of a pan very quickly. And these gold nuggets can easily be recovered through panning. Depending upon the area and the miner, there are several types of panning methods and containers.
Panning for gold is done by using a bowl or a pan to scoop up the water. It is then filtered out by pouring the water and dirt through a screen. Gold is easily sorted from rocks and dirt because it is much heavier. It will just sink to the bottom of the filter. When there is no water available, dry panning is the best alternative to recover the gold. This process is not as efficient as water panning but will also recover gold. This process of mining for gold takes a bit more expertise and equipment. Yet, it can be just as successful at recovering available gold from a certain area.
While the process has not changed much over the years, there have been improvements in the equipment used for gold panning. Today’s gold pans are not as heavy as before, allowing miners to work for longer hours and recover more gold.
Another useful process in metallurgy is producing metal alloys. Metal alloys are typically stronger than the original metal alone. Most metals can be combined to produce alloys, including gold, copper and lead. Combining metals to create an alloy often improves the traits of both metals.
Take iron, for instance. While incredibly strong, it can also rust easily and can be quite brittle. Combining iron with other metals creates a stronger and more durable material. The science of metallurgy has been around for thousands of years. Producing stronger and more durable alloys by combining pure metals with other materials is one of its best uses.