AskDefine | Define alloying

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. present participle of alloy

Extensive Definition

An alloy is a solid solution or homogeneous mixture of two or more elements, at least one of which is a metal, which itself has metallic properties. It usually has different properties from those of its component elements.
Alloying one metal with others often enhances its properties. For instance, steel is stronger than iron, its primary element. The physical properties, such as density, reactivity, Young's modulus, and electrical and thermal conductivity, of an alloy may not differ greatly from those of its elements, but engineering properties, such as tensile strength and shear strength may be substantially different from those of the constituent materials. This is sometimes due to the sizes of the atoms in the alloy, since larger atoms exert a compressive force on neighboring atoms, and smaller atoms exert a tensile force on their neighbors, helping the alloy resist deformation. Alloys may exhibit marked differences in behavior even when small amounts of one element occur. For example, impurities in semi-conducting ferromagnetic alloys lead to different properties, as first predicted by White, Hogan, Suhl, Tian Abrie and Nakamura. Some alloys are made by melting and mixing two or more metals. Brass is an alloy made from copper and zinc. Bronze, used for statues, ornaments and church bells, is an alloy of tin and copper.
Unlike pure metals, most alloys do not have a single melting point. Instead, they have a melting range in which the material is a mixture of solid and liquid phases. The temperature at which melting begins is called the solidus and the temperature when melting is complete is called the liquidus. However, for most alloys there is a particular proportion of constituents which give them a single melting point or (rarely) two. This is called the alloy's eutectic mixture.


Alloys can be classified by the number of their constituents. An alloy with two components is called a binary alloy; one with three is a ternary alloy, and so forth. Alloys can be further classified as either substitution alloys or interstitial alloys, depending on their method of formation. In substitution alloys, the atoms of the components are approximately the same size and the various atoms are simply substituted for one another in the crystal structure. An example of a (binary) substitution alloy is brass, made up of copper and zinc. Interstitial alloys occur when the atoms of one component are substantially smaller than the other and the smaller atoms fit into the spaces (interstices) between the larger atoms.


In practice, some alloys are used so predominantly with respect to their base metals that the name of the primary constituent is also used as the name of the alloy. For example, 14 carat gold is an alloy of gold with other elements. Similarly, the silver used in jewelry and the aluminium used as a structural building material are also alloys.
The term "alloy" is sometime used in everyday speech as a synonym for a particular alloy. For example, automobile wheels made of aluminium alloy are commonly referred to as simply "alloy wheels". The usage is obviously indefinite, since steels and most other metals in practical use are also alloys.


External links

alloying in Afrikaans: Legering
alloying in Arabic: سبيكة
alloying in Belarusian: Сплаў
alloying in Bosnian: Legura
alloying in Bulgarian: Сплав
alloying in Catalan: Aliatge
alloying in Czech: Slitina
alloying in Danish: Legering
alloying in German: Legierung
alloying in Estonian: Sulam
alloying in Modern Greek (1453-): Κράμα
alloying in Spanish: Aleación
alloying in Esperanto: Alojo
alloying in Persian: آلیاژ
alloying in French: Alliage
alloying in Scottish Gaelic: Coimheatailt
alloying in Galician: Aliaxe
alloying in Korean: 합금
alloying in Croatian: Legura
alloying in Ido: Aloyo
alloying in Indonesian: Aloy
alloying in Icelandic: Málmblanda
alloying in Italian: Lega (metallurgia)
alloying in Hebrew: סגסוגת
alloying in Swahili (macrolanguage): Aloi
alloying in Lithuanian: Lydinys
alloying in Macedonian: Легура
alloying in Malay (macrolanguage): Aloi
alloying in Mongolian: Хайлш
alloying in Dutch: Legering
alloying in Japanese: 合金
alloying in Norwegian: Legering
alloying in Norwegian Nynorsk: Legering
alloying in Narom: Alouai
alloying in Uighur: قېتىشماق
alloying in Polish: Stop metali
alloying in Portuguese: Liga metálica
alloying in Romanian: Aliaj
alloying in Russian: Сплав
alloying in Simple English: Alloy
alloying in Slovenian: Zlitina
alloying in Serbian: Легура
alloying in Finnish: Metalliseos
alloying in Swedish: Legering
alloying in Tamil: கலப்புலோகம்
alloying in Thai: โลหะผสม
alloying in Vietnamese: Hợp kim
alloying in Turkish: Alaşım
alloying in Ukrainian: Сплави
alloying in Yiddish: געמיש מעטאלען
alloying in Chinese: 合金
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