Author Topic: Metallurgy  (Read 4474 times)


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« on: April 24, 2007, 09:30:22 AM »
Metallurgy is a domain of materials science that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their intermetallic compounds, and their mixtures, which are called alloys.


The earliest recorded metal employed by humans appears to be gold. Small amounts of natural gold have been found in Spanish caves used during the late Paleolithic period, c. 40,000 BC.[1] Historical developments in ferrous metallurgy can be found in a wide variety of past cultures and civilizations. This includes the ancient and medieval kingdoms and empires of the Middle East and Near East, ancient Egypt and Anatolia (Turkey), the Incas of South America, the Greeks and Romans of ancient Europe, medieval Europe, ancient and medieval China, ancient and medieval India, ancient and medieval Japan, etc. Of interest to note is that many applications, practices, and devices associated or involved in metallurgy were first established in ancient China long before Europeans mastered these crafts (such as the innovation of the blast furnace, cast iron, steel, hydraulic-powered trip hammers, etc.)

Extractive metallurgy

Extractive metallurgy is the practice of removing valuable metals from an ore and refining the extracted raw metals into a purer form. In order to convert a metal oxide or sulfide to a purer metal, the ore must be reduced either chemically or electrolytically.

Extractive metallurgists are interested in three primary streams: feed, concentrate (valuable metal oxide/sulfide), and tailings (waste). After mining, large pieces of the ore feed are broken through crushing and/or grinding in order to obtain particles small enough where each particle is either mostly valuable or mostly waste. Concentrating the particles of a value in a form supporting separation enables the desired metal to be removed from waste products.

Ore bodies often contain more than one valuable metal. Tailings of a previous process may be used as a feed in another process to extract a secondary product from the original ore

Metallurgy in production engineering
In production engineering, metallurgy is concerned with the production of metallic components for use in consumer or engineering products. This involves the production of alloys, the shaping, the heat treatment and the surface treatment of the product. The task of the metallurgist is to achieve design criteria specified by the mechanical engineer, such as cost, weight, strength, toughness, hardness, corrosion and fatigue resistance, and performance in temperature extremes.

Common engineering metals are aluminium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, nickel, titanium and zinc. These are most often used as alloys. Much effort has been placed on understanding one very important alloy system, that of purified iron, which has carbon dissolved in it, better known as steel. Normal steel is used in low cost, high strength applications where weight and corrosion are not a problem. Cast irons, including ductile iron are also part of this system.

Stainless steel or galvanized steel are used where resistance to corrosion is important. Aluminium alloys and magnesium alloys are used for applications where strength and lightness are required.

A nickel-based alloy such as Monel is used in highly corrosive environments and for non-magnetic applications. The nickel-based superalloy Inconel is used in high temperature applications such as turbochargers, pressure vessels, and heat exchangers.

The operating environment of the product is very important; a well-designed material will resist expected failure modes such as corrosion, stress concentration, metal fatigue, creep and environmental stress fracture. Ferrous metals and some aluminium alloys in water and especially in an electrolytic solution such as seawater, corrode quickly. Metals in cold or cryogenic conditions tend to lose their toughness becoming more brittle and prone to cracking. Metals under continual cyclic loading can suffer from metal fatigue. Metals under constant stress in hot conditions can creep.

Production engineering of metals

Metals are shaped by processes such as casting, forging, Flow Forming, Rolling (metalworking), extrusion, sintering, metalworking, machining and fabrication. With casting, molten metal is poured into a shaped mould. With forging, a red-hot billet is hammered into shape. With rolling, a billet is passed through successively narrower rollers to create a sheet. With extrusion, a hot and malleable metal is forced under pressure through a die, which shapes it before it cools. With sintering, a powdered metal is compressed into a die at high temperature. With machining, lathes, milling machines, and drills are used to cut the cold metal to shape. With fabrication, sheets of metal are cut with guillotines or gas cutters and bent into shape.

"Cold working" processes, where the product’s shape is altered by rolling, fabrication or other processes while the product is cold, can increase the strength of the product by a process called work hardening. Work hardening creates microscopic defects in the metal, which resist further changes of shape.

Various forms of casting exist in industry and academia. These include sand casting, investment casting (also called the “lost wax process”), die casting and continuous casting.

Welding is a technique for joining certain ferrous metals and certain aluminium alloys. The metals in the weld and on both sides of the join are generally similar alloys. Brazing is a technique for joining ferrous or non-ferrous metals with a copper-based (generally brass or bronze) filler.

Metals can be heat-treated by annealing, quenching, tempering and case hardening to alter properties of toughness, hardness or resistance to corrosion. Annealing softens the metal and makes a shaped product tougher by reducing the effects of work hardening. Quenching and case hardening are used to make a shaped product harder. Quenching by itself makes the metal very hard and very brittle. Tempering after quenching is used to reduce the brittleness and improve overall properties.

Electroplating is the main surface-treatment technique. It involves bonding a thin layer of another metal such as gold, silver, chromium or zinc to the surface of the product. It is used to reduce corrosion as well as to improve the product's aesthetic appearance.

Electrical and electronic engineering

Metallurgy is also applied to electrical and electronic materials where metals such as aluminium, copper, tin and gold are used in power lines, wires, printed circuit boards and integrated circuits.

Soldering is a method of joining metallic electrical conductors where high strength is not required.

Metallurgical techniques

Metallurgists study the microscopic and macroscopic mechanisms that cause a metal or alloy to behave in the way that it does, i.e. the changes that occur on the atomic level that affect the metal's (or alloy's) macroscopic properties. Examples of tools used for microscopic examination of metals are optical and electron microscopes and mass spectrometers.

Metallurgists study crystallography, the effects of temperature and heat treatment on the component phases of alloys, such as the eutectic and the properties of those alloy phases.

The macroscopic properties of metals are tested using machines and devices that measure tensile strength, compressive strength and hardness.

Engineer Forum

« on: April 24, 2007, 09:30:22 AM »


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Re: Metallurgy
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2010, 02:59:26 PM »
very good explanation.I am metallurgical engineer and i like this subject.If you need information about refinering and casting of steel i can do this.