Earth has an abundance of natural resources that can be used to make life easier. Metals are one of the most valuable resources that it offers. They provide a means to build everything from electronic devices to sky scrapers. Although there are countless different metals on earth, each of them has its advantages and disadvantages in their natural form. For instance, iron is extremely strong, but it also breaks easily due to its brittle nature. Additionally, it is prone to rusting. Aluminium, on the other hand, is extremely lightweight, but is too weak for most practical applications.
This is where alloys come in handy. Alloys combine metals with other chemical elements to make them more suitable for use in a variety of different applications. For instance, iron may be combined with elements that make it less brittle or less prone to rusting. This takes advantage of its strengths, while at the same time minimizing its weaknesses. The following section highlights some of the most common examples of alloys.
This is made from a mixture of copper and zinc. It has a bright yellowish colour that is similar to gold. It is commonly used in pipe fittings and musical instruments. As a matter of fact, the brass section that includes the trumpets, tubas and trombones in a typical orchestra gets its name from this certain type of alloy. It is also used in lamps, doorknobs and ammunition casings.
Bronze is made from a mixture of copper and tin along with other elements. It is often used in statues, medals and coins. Bronze is also used to make cymbals. Although it sometimes can be light in hue, but in most cases, it has a warm brown colour that can range from medium to deep tones.
This is typically made from a combination of iron and carbon or silicon. Cast iron is typically used in cooking pots, ornamental metal work and metal bridges.
Usually, steel is made from iron and carbon. It provides extremely high strength and low production costs. It is used in everything from buildings and bridges to knife blades, guns and garden tools. Stainless steel, on the other hand, contains chromium. This helps make it rust and corrosion resistant.
White gold is commonly used in high-end jewellery. It is made from a combination of gold with one or more white metals including palladium, nickel or manganese. It is then plated with rhodium to give it its characteristic bright silver colour.
This is an extremely soft and malleable metal alloy. Pewter is usually made by combining tin with copper, bismuth and antimony or lead. Occasionally, silver is also included in the mix. Pewter is often used in different applications that include:
- Serving dishes;
- Collectible figurines;
- Mugs and tankards; and
These are just a few examples of alloys. There are many others out there as well. The ability to make alloys has allowed mankind to improve upon the metals found in nature. They are now made even stronger, more resistant to rust or corrosion and more beautiful. They are also made easier to manipulate or less brittle to be able to build various architectures and form various designs. In fact, this has allowed us to make significant advancements in technology, building techniques and other industries, making it possible to live the life that we know today.