Metal vs Alloy
All elements are divided into metals and non metals on the basis of certain characteristics. Metals are known to have a luster, and they are good conductors of heat and electricity. When they are polished, they are also good reflectors of light. Most of the metals are also ductile and malleable. Metals are also denser than other non metals. However, it is not just metals but also their solid mixtures, called alloys that are very useful for mankind. To a common man, there may not be much of a difference between a metal and its alloy, but there are many differences between these two and they will be highlighted in this article.
Steel, which is an alloy, is made up of mostly iron and a little bit of carbon, whose percentage varies from 0.2% to 2% depending upon the grade of the alloy. We are aware of the strength and durability of steel, which is much more than iron which is softer than steel. It is clear then that we can get materials better, and importantly having properties other than those of the ingredients of an alloy. Iron is one metal that makes many more alloys other than steel with substances such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten etc. It is possible to have the properties of the alloy changed suiting one’s requirements by varying the additives or alloying materials.
Because of the importance and usefulness of alloys, the word alloying has come to refer to the process that leads to formation of alloys. For centuries, man used iron thinking it to be very strong. But it was the formation of steel, its alloy that gave the world one of the strongest structural materials.
What is the difference between Metal and Alloy?
• A metal is a pure substance as it is made up of a single type of molecules. On the other hand, an alloy is made up of two or more substances.
• Alloy is obtained by adding small percentages of other metal or non metals to a metal to have desirable properties.
• Pure metals are found in nature, whereas alloys are man made.
• Alloys don’t easily react with air and water like constituent metals. This is why car wheels are made up of alloys, and not pure metals.