Cupronickel As An Industrial Alloy

Published: 22nd December 2010
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An alloy is a partial or full solution of one or more metallic elements. A full solution alloy has a single microstructure of solid phase, whereas partial solution alloy has two or more phases of matter that produce a homogeneous metallic product. Alloys inherit properties of the component elements, and develop new ones due to the reaction of each componentís particles with one another. Typically, the components of an alloy are measured by mass.

Generally, alloys are made by melting and mixing two or more component elements, with at least one metal. An instance of this is the bronze, which is an alloy of copper and tin and was the first alloy to be discovered. It is much harder than pure copper and it was originally used for prehistoric tools and weapons. To date, bronze is used for decorative purposes, such as bells, statues and home fixtures.

Most alloys do not have a distinct melting point unlike their component metals. However, they have a melting range in which the alloy can be broken down in a mixture of solid and liquid phases. The temperature at which breaking down of the alloys starts is referred as solidus, and the complete melting is called as the liquidus. On the other hand, for most alloys, there is a specific amount of components that gives the alloy its unique melting point, which is called as the eutectic mixture.

A common metal component in creating alloys is copper. Copper is a ductile metallic element with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is very soft and malleable, and has a pinkish or reddish color. Copper is commonly used in materials that are designed to conduct heat and electricity. It is also used as a building material and ornaments, as well as a component metal to create copper alloys.

Nickel, on the other hand, is a silvery-white shiny metal with a slight golden tint. Nickel is resistant to corrosion, making it a prolific component metal for producing nickel alloys. It is also used to manufacture coins, household utensils, magnets, and other household and industrial applications.Nickel can also be a constituent in medical supplements, such as in vitamins.

Copper and nickel can be made into an alloy, which is the cupronickel. It contains nickel in it, as well as other reinforcing components, such as iron and manganese. Being one of copper alloys, cupronickel is very resistant to corrosion and brine. Due to these properties, cupronickel is mainly used for infrastructure and industrial purposes, such as for pipes, condensers, propellers, crankshafts, hulls and other parts of seafaring vessels.

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