There are times when we’re aware of the metal alloys we use in everyday life. For example, if you go into your kitchen and pick up an average piece of silverware, you are probably aware that it’s made of stainless steel. It’s one of the most common applications for the alloy, and it’s one of the most easily recognizable. However, there are dozens of alloys that you might come into contact with on a regular basis and you may not even know it.
Let’s start with stainless steel. You can easily find this material, usually as Stainless Steel 316 in your kitchen. It’s used in everything from your basic kitchen knives to upscale equipment in both the food and pharmaceutical industry. However, stainless steel machinability allows it to be used in all sorts of different places. This can include lab equipment, chemical containers, and jet engine parts, just to name a few.
Other examples of alloys may include nickel, which is becoming increasingly more common. Nickel itself is estimated to be growing in use by 4% each year, and materials containing nickel have been growing by 6% within the same time. Nickel is a metal that is known for its lack of corrosion, making it a popular component in other alloys to protect them. For example, desalination plants tend to favor a copper and nickel alloy in their tubes to keep salt water from damaging them while it’s being turned into fresh water. However, because of the stainless steel machinability, nickel continues to be a popular component used in these alloys.
Some other uses of alloys include construction materials, for tools and forging parts, and sometimes even to avoid detection. Submarines are created in order to operate below the Sonic Layer Depth so that they can avoid sonar detection. This requires a specific kind of alloy with a high yield strength, in order to keep the vessel and its passengers safe. On the other hand, airplanes require alloys that are heat resistant such as aluminum. This keeps the parts from overheating and malfunctioning.
As you can see, metal alloys are an abundantly large market. Used in everything from kitchens to airplanes, it’s easy to see why they’re so important. In addition, there are many uses for each alloy that aren’t always acknowledged in everyday life. And that will only grow as we learn more about them and their many uses.