The Finest Alloys for the Job


Metal ranks among the most important building tools that the human race has ever used, from iron and copper to tin and more. After all, just look at some prehistoric eras which are named after commonly used metals at the time, such as the Iron Age and Bronze Age. Fast forward a few millennia to the 1800s, and the Industrial Revolution launched a whole new scale of steel production and use for mills and factories. From that point on, steel has been produced in vast quantities to make anything from I-beams for skyscrapers to railroad tracks, vehicles, and electronic goods. Today, steel and aluminum are widely used metals, but not even high yield steel can do everything. Some factories and other businesses will purchase parts made of alloys, such as A286 alloys, monel, K400 nickel, copper nickel 70 30, and others. When might A286 alloys or similar alloys be put to use? What can A286 alloys do?

The Many Uses of Steel and Aluminum

While steel and aluminum can’t do everything, they are widely used metals with a lot of applications around the world. They’re also a large part of the modern American sheet metal industry, which is a huge industry that employs over 130,000 people and is still growing. Experts say that the American sheet metal industry will grow from 2016 to 2026 and create thousands of new jobs along the way. Overall, the United States ranks among China, Canada, and Germany as the world’s top steel producers and users. A lot of steel imported into the United States comes from Canada and China in particular.

Steel is produced at mills, and rolls of steel may be shipped to factories, construction firms, and other wholesale buyers. Steel is passed through a series of rollers at the mill, and the very high temperatures help temper that steel into sheets of what is called “hot rolled” steel. Such steel has imprecise dimensions, but this is acceptable for applications such as making I-beams and railroad tracks. But some hot rolled sheets can be passed through rollers again, and at room temperature, to make cold rolled steel rolls. This still has precise dimensions and a protective coat, which makes it the right choice for making more delicate, precisely produced goods at factories. Care should be taken, though, when packaging and transporting it. And stainless steel, for its part, is steel that resists rust and corrosion, which makes it ideal for making cutlery and surgical equipment.

What about aluminum? This is a lightweight metal that is also widely used to make electronic goods, and it is being used more and more to build lightweight vehicles that are thus fuel efficient. Aluminum is also a common choice for making car rims.

Meanwhile, alloys such as A286 alloys can handle the rest.

Making Use of Alloys

Steel and aluminum are quite useful, to be sure, but they cannot handle every job out there. Some applications involve extremes of pressure, heat or cold, or corrosion that steel or aluminum cannot handle. So, alloys are used, which are composite metals made up of two or more ingredient metals such as steel, iron, nickel, copper, titanium, brass, and more. These metals are combined in certain ratios to create an alloy that can handle certain jobs quite well.

An alloy, such as A286 alloys, can endure high temperatures and extremes of weight or pressure, often as high as 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit. Often, they can be used to make springs and fasteners, and some alloys have enough heat tolerance to be used in industrial furnaces and large vehicle engines.

Other alloys are meant to endure not only temperature, but changes in pressure, such as with metal bellows. Often found in large vehicle engines and factories, metal bellows are metal tubes designed to flex, contract, and expand safely while heated gases or liquids pass through them. Ordinary metals might rupture from the strain, but the right alloys can be used to build those tubes without failing.

Finally, some alloys are geared for chemical and salt water tolerance, often made with copper components. Undersea pipes, for example, must endure constant exposure to salt water both inside and out, and chemical plants have tanks and pipes that can endure exposure to those chemicals constantly without degrading.

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