Metal and Alloy: One Step from Stainless Steel

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Metal and alloy: before you start talking about stainless steel and its characteristics, you have to know them.

In the last lecture we mentioned that steel is one of the many substances that present themselves in solid state; but let us take a small step backwards.


Metals, together with non-metals and semi-metals, are naturally occurring chemical elements. They are located inside the rocks and there are about 80 types (distinguishable by melting temperature).

They are conductors of heat and electricity and are able to reflect light thus giving life to the term “metallic gloss”. They are also divided into ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

Based on chemical properties, metals can give rise to basic oxides such as Chromium Oxide (CrO) which we will see in the next lessons.


If we combine a metal with one or more elements (not necessarily other metals) we obtain an alloy. This will have different characteristics from those of its components.

An alloy is created to obtain a product with properties more desirable than those of the components with which it is composed. For example, steel (iron-carbon alloy) has a higher mechanical strength than iron, its main component. An alloy with two components is called a binary alloy; one with three is ternary and one with four is a quaternary.

Moreover, unlike pure metals, many alloys do not have a single melting point, but cross a melting range in which the material is a mixture of solid and liquid phase

You call solidus the temperature at which the fusion begins and liquidus the temperature at which the fusion is complete.

There are also special alloys called eutectic. These have a single melting point.


See you on next Expert Lesson.

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