Copper is used as the main alloying element in 2000 series aluminum. It can be strengthened considerably through solution heat-treating. These alloys have a combination of high strength and toughness, but lack the atmospheric corrosion resistance as many other aluminum alloys. Because of this, they are usually painted or clad with a high-purity alloy or a 6xxx series alloy.
6000 series aluminum alloy is versatile, heat treatable, very formable, weldable, strong, and has good corrosion resistance. Alloys in this series have silicon and magnesium which forms magnesium silicide within the alloy. Products typically made from 6xxx series alloy include architectural and structural applications, as well as truck and marine frames.
Brass is a binary alloy composed of copper and zinc. It is valued for its machinability. It can be formed while maintaining a high strength. Brass is also known for its corrosion resistance and attractive appearance.
Low carbon steels are a low-cost material that is easy to shape. It is not as hard as higher-carbon steels, but carburizing will increase its surface hardness.
This alloy is non-magnetic stainless steel that cannot be hardened by treatment. It has improved machinability and good mechanical and corrosion resistant properties. It also has excellent toughness. Alloy 303 is often used in applications where parts need to be heavily machined. Some examples include; nuts and bolts, aircraft fittings, gears, and screws.
Alloy 304 is the most used and versatile alloy in the stainless steel family. It has great corrosion resistance, and can be easily fabricated, formed, and welded. This type of stainless steel can be used for a variety of commercial and home applications, and can be found in pans and cooking tools.
As the second-most common form of stainless steel, alloy 316 is very similar to alloy 304. The main difference is that alloy 316 contains 2 to 3 percent molybdenum. The molybdenum increases corrosion resistance, especially against chlorides and other industrial solvents. Because of this, 316 stainless is used in industrial applications that involve processing chemicals, as well as high-saline environments such as coastal regions and outdoor areas where de-icing salts are common. It is also used in the manufacture of medical surgical instruments due to its non-reactive qualities.
17-4 stainless steel is characterized by a high corrosion resistance, toughness, and strength. It is capable of being only mildly formed. It is mostly used in aircraft and gas turbines, paper mills, nuclear reactors, oil fields, and chemical process components.
Monel is a group of nickel alloys. They are stronger than pure nickel, and are resistant to corrosion by many things, including rapidly flowing seawater.
Stellite is an alloy designed for wear resistance. It is associated with high corrosion resistance and is adaptable for a wide range of applications, such as acid-resistant machine parts, exhaust valves, machine gun barrels, artificial hip joints or other bone replacements, and turning tools for lathes. Stellite is difficult and often expensive to machine due to its hard material properties. Very precise casting and grinding machining methods are often employed.
Nitronic 60 stainless steel has a much lower cost way to fight wear and galling in comparison to higher nickel alloys. Its corrosion resistance falls between that of 304 and 316 stainless steel, and its room temperature yield strength is double that of types 304 and 316. It is used for valve stems, fastening systems, chain-drive systems, and other applications.
With a combination of high strength, stiffness, toughness, low density, and good corrosion resistance, Titanium offers weight savings in aerospace structures and other high-performance applications.
When Inconel is heated, a thick, stable passivating oxide layer is formed. This layer makes it resistant to heat, corrosion, pressure, and oxidation. Because of this, it is usually used in applications with high temperatures. For example, it is commonly used in the chemical and aerospace industries.
PEEK (polyetheretherketone) is a strong, stiff plastic that is chemical and hydrolysis resistant. It is easy to machine and fabricate, has very low smoke and toxic gas emissions when exposed to flame, and has good mechanical properties at high temperatures. It is mostly used in semiconductor machinery components, aerospace parts, seals, pump and valve components, medical instrument parts, and food processing machinery components.
Ultem is an amorphous thermoplastic polyetherimide (PEI) material. It has great mechanical strength, resistance to heat and environmental forces, flame resistance, dielectric strength and stability which makes it a good electrical insulator, low dissipation factor over a wide range of frequencies, can be easily machined, and when used in natural grade, it is FDA, USP Class VI, and NSF compliant. It is used in the medical, electronic/electrical, microwave, automotive, and aerospace industries.
Anodizing is an electromechanical process. It converts metal surfaces into a decorative, durable, and corrosion-resistant finish. Aluminum is best suited for anodizing, but other nonferrous metals, such as titanium can also be anodized.
Passivation increases the corrosion resistance of stainless steels by reducing the chemical reactivity of its surface. A component may need to be passivized once or more per year.
Nickel-Chrome plating is a common metal plating technique that is used for its protection against corrosion and also for its decorative value.
Electro polishing is an electrochemical process that smooths and streamlines the microscopic surface of a metal object. The result is a microscopically perfect surface.
Laser etching (a subset of laser engraving) occurs when the heat from the beam causes the surface of the material to melt. The melted material then expands and causes a raised mark. It enhances contrast and alters its reflectivity.
Heat treating metals is an attempt to optimize the mechanical and physical properties for a specific application. Heat treatment is commonly a process to harden metal, but it can also be used to soften metal for easier working operations.