The following article is a guest post.
In the eyes of ordinary people, metals and alloys are the same. They only think of metal as one family of similar components that are harder than any other structural components such as wood or concrete. This is a common misconception.
Alloys and metals are different. Each type of metal is made up of a single element found in nature. Copper, gold, silver, and iron are just some examples of metals. On the other hand, alloys are not found in nature. They are man-made. They are composed of two or more metal elements.
Alloys are known to be hard and durable. Even so, alloys alone are not enough to replace metals. Here are five reasons why:
Since alloys are known to be hard and durable, they are not as flexible as metals. Metals are ductile and malleable. They can be compressed or reshaped without breaking them. You can even use a hammer to change the shape of a metal while it’s impossible to do so with alloys.
This is the reason why metals are used as wires and cables. Jewelries such as necklace and rings are metals. Alloys cannot be used for such things.
Alloys are durable in terms of hardness. It means it’s hard to break by force. However, durability cannot be measured by strength and hardness alone. Durability also means remaining the same for a long period of time. In layman’s term, it means long life. Anything that lasts long is durable. Alloys fall short in this.
If you compare gold with alloy, gold will last longer than alloy. It’s because alloys erode over time, whether or not they are exposed to pressure.
You can recycle metals such as pure iron, copper, silver, tungsten, aluminium, etc. after discussing Australian scrap metal prices with a reputed dealer. This is impossible for alloys because they are made up of two or more elements, which can hardly be separated even through sophisticated processes. Alloys are hard enough to separate every element in them. The only thing you can do to recycle an alloy is preserve or restore the structure to reuse them.
Heat and electricity are important things in the modern world. As technology develops faster, anything that can be used for electricity or anything that requires heat is highly important. Metals are good conductors of electricity and heat. They can be used to transmit electricity directly to any electrical device.
Alloys are not good conductors of heat and electricity. If your cooking pan is made of alloys, it will take you forever to fry an egg. This is why kitchen wares are made of metals.
Things that are made of metals can be polished to look shiny. Silver is one best example of a metal that has this characteristic.
Although polishing seems to be for aesthetic purposes only, it can also perform certain functions. Flashlights work because of reflectors, and reflectors are metals that are polished properly. You can’t do it with alloys. Nonetheless, alloys can be mixed with metals that can produce a shining effect.
Alloys can never completely replace metals, but both are indispensable.
We need alloys as much as we need metals. Today’s market prices change greatly from day to day as there will always be a demand for metals and alloys, particularly in larger industrial nations. Even when the supply has diminished, it can be repopulated through the scrap industry and through mining.