The Different Types of Alloys That Are Used in Manufacturing Today

The United States makes use of a breathtaking amount of alloys for a diverse range of economic and manufacturing reasons. From cars, to planes, to the tiny little microchips that sit inside our smartphones and laptops, there’s no end to the usefulness of the enormous numbers of alloys the US brings in.

But, well, what are they? What sets one alloy apart from another? Why are certain types of alloys used in one industry but not others? And how does the actual manufacturing process become affected when alloys run short?

Find out all this and more as we dive into the world of alloys.

Aluminum Alloys

Aluminum (or aluminium for the Brits out there) is one of the most important alloy types around, without question. It’s used through the manufacturing industry for any number of reasons, from rapid prototyping to the aerospace industry. Aluminum is a flexible metal that can withstand temperature extremes, which makes it particularly well-suited to the demands of — for example — building an airplane’s wings.

That flexibility makes it less suitable for tasks that require a hard, rigid material, though. That’s why you’ll not often find an aluminum-alloy-derived kitchen knife.

Steel Alloys

On the other hand, you’ll definitely find a kitchen knife made from stainless steel alloys. It’s shiny, easy to clean, and holds its shape very well indeed. That makes it perfect when you need a nice sharp implement to cut your food with (that you can easily wash later).

Stainless steel is made of a fusion of iron and carbon, which are both very abundant on this planet of ours. No wonder it’s such a common sight in mass produced manufacturing processes (for more on mass production, see

Copper Alloys

There are all sorts of copper alloys, but the ones you’re probably familiar with are brass and bronze. Brass, a mixture of copper and zinc, is a beautiful and shiny material that’s often used in jewelry. It’s not for no reason that we tend to associate the high society of the 19th century with lots of brass: it’s always been valued for its aesthetics.

Bronze, on the other hand, has been around for ages (well, since the bronze age!). It’s not as common or delicate as brass, but it too is generally used for purposes of aesthetics. Statues, coins, and other decorative jewelery are very often wrought in bronze. If you’ve ever stumbled across a bust of a great thinker in a museum or elsewhere, it was very likely made of bronze.

There Are So Many Types of Alloys

These are just a few of the types of alloys that the manufacturing industry makes heavy use of in the modern manufacturing process. You could fill a book (and many have) with the sheer number of alloys that are out there and the diverse range of ways in which they’re used. Hopefully, this brief guide has piqued your interest!

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