AskDefine | Define alloy

Dictionary Definition



1 a mixture containing two or more metallic elements or metallic and nonmetallic elements usually fused together or dissolving into each other when molten; "brass is an alloy of zinc and copper" [syn: metal]
2 the state of impairing the quality or reducing the value of something [syn: admixture]


1 lower in value by increasing the base-metal content [syn: debase]
2 make an alloy of

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. a metal that is a combination of two or more elements, at least one of which is a metal.


  • /'ælɒj/

Derived terms


metal combined of more elements


  1. mix or combine; often used of metals


  • /æl'ɒj/


Extensive Definition

An alloy is a solid solution or homogeneous mixture of two or more elements, at least one of which is a metal, which itself has metallic properties. It usually has different properties from those of its component elements.
Alloying one metal with others often enhances its properties. For instance, steel is stronger than iron, its primary element. The physical properties, such as density, reactivity, Young's modulus, and electrical and thermal conductivity, of an alloy may not differ greatly from those of its elements, but engineering properties, such as tensile strength and shear strength may be substantially different from those of the constituent materials. This is sometimes due to the sizes of the atoms in the alloy, since larger atoms exert a compressive force on neighboring atoms, and smaller atoms exert a tensile force on their neighbors, helping the alloy resist deformation. Alloys may exhibit marked differences in behavior even when small amounts of one element occur. For example, impurities in semi-conducting ferromagnetic alloys lead to different properties, as first predicted by White, Hogan, Suhl, Tian Abrie and Nakamura. Some alloys are made by melting and mixing two or more metals. Brass is an alloy made from copper and zinc. Bronze, used for statues, ornaments and church bells, is an alloy of tin and copper.
Unlike pure metals, most alloys do not have a single melting point. Instead, they have a melting range in which the material is a mixture of solid and liquid phases. The temperature at which melting begins is called the solidus and the temperature when melting is complete is called the liquidus. However, for most alloys there is a particular proportion of constituents which give them a single melting point or (rarely) two. This is called the alloy's eutectic mixture.


Alloys can be classified by the number of their constituents. An alloy with two components is called a binary alloy; one with three is a ternary alloy, and so forth. Alloys can be further classified as either substitution alloys or interstitial alloys, depending on their method of formation. In substitution alloys, the atoms of the components are approximately the same size and the various atoms are simply substituted for one another in the crystal structure. An example of a (binary) substitution alloy is brass, made up of copper and zinc. Interstitial alloys occur when the atoms of one component are substantially smaller than the other and the smaller atoms fit into the spaces (interstices) between the larger atoms.


In practice, some alloys are used so predominantly with respect to their base metals that the name of the primary constituent is also used as the name of the alloy. For example, 14 carat gold is an alloy of gold with other elements. Similarly, the silver used in jewelry and the aluminium used as a structural building material are also alloys.
The term "alloy" is sometime used in everyday speech as a synonym for a particular alloy. For example, automobile wheels made of aluminium alloy are commonly referred to as simply "alloy wheels". The usage is obviously indefinite, since steels and most other metals in practical use are also alloys.


External links

alloy in Afrikaans: Legering
alloy in Arabic: سبيكة
alloy in Belarusian: Сплаў
alloy in Bosnian: Legura
alloy in Bulgarian: Сплав
alloy in Catalan: Aliatge
alloy in Czech: Slitina
alloy in Danish: Legering
alloy in German: Legierung
alloy in Estonian: Sulam
alloy in Modern Greek (1453-): Κράμα
alloy in Spanish: Aleación
alloy in Esperanto: Alojo
alloy in Persian: آلیاژ
alloy in French: Alliage
alloy in Scottish Gaelic: Coimheatailt
alloy in Galician: Aliaxe
alloy in Korean: 합금
alloy in Croatian: Legura
alloy in Ido: Aloyo
alloy in Indonesian: Aloy
alloy in Icelandic: Málmblanda
alloy in Italian: Lega (metallurgia)
alloy in Hebrew: סגסוגת
alloy in Swahili (macrolanguage): Aloi
alloy in Lithuanian: Lydinys
alloy in Macedonian: Легура
alloy in Malay (macrolanguage): Aloi
alloy in Mongolian: Хайлш
alloy in Dutch: Legering
alloy in Japanese: 合金
alloy in Norwegian: Legering
alloy in Norwegian Nynorsk: Legering
alloy in Narom: Alouai
alloy in Uighur: قېتىشماق
alloy in Polish: Stop metali
alloy in Portuguese: Liga metálica
alloy in Romanian: Aliaj
alloy in Russian: Сплав
alloy in Simple English: Alloy
alloy in Slovenian: Zlitina
alloy in Serbian: Легура
alloy in Finnish: Metalliseos
alloy in Swedish: Legering
alloy in Tamil: கலப்புலோகம்
alloy in Thai: โลหะผสม
alloy in Vietnamese: Hợp kim
alloy in Turkish: Alaşım
alloy in Ukrainian: Сплави
alloy in Yiddish: געמיש מעטאלען
alloy in Chinese: 合金

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Carboloy, Duralumin, Duriron, German silver, Monel Metal, Muntz metal, Stellite, Swedish steel, admix, admixture, adulterate, aggregate, allay, alloy iron, alloy steel, alloyage, alnico, alter, amalgam, amalgamate, amalgamation, babbitt, bell metal, bemingle, blend, brass, bronze, bush metal, canker, carbon steel, case-hardened steel, cast iron, change, cheapen, chisel steel, chrome-nickel steel, cinder pig, coalesce, coarsen, coin nickel, coin silver, combination, combine, combo, commingle, commix, commixture, compose, composite, composition, compound, concoct, concoction, confection, confound, conglomerate, constantan, contaminate, corrupt, cupronickel, damask, debase, debauch, decarbonized iron, defile, deflower, degenerate, degrade, denature, dental gold, deprave, desecrate, despoil, devalue, die steel, diminish, distort, drill steel, elinvar, emulsify, ensemble, fuse, fuse metal, fusion, galvanized iron, gilding metal, graphite steel, green gold, grid metal, gun metal, hard lead, hash, high brass, high-speed steel, homogenize, hot-work steel, immingle, immix, immixture, impair, infect, integrate, interblend, interfusion, interlace, interlard, intermingle, intermix, intermixture, intertwine, interweave, invar, jumble, knead, leaded bronze, magma, manganese bronze, merge, mingle, mingle-mangle, misuse, mix, mix up, mixture, moderate, modify, naval brass, nickel bronze, nickel silver, paste, pervert, pewter, phosphor bronze, pig, pinchbeck, poison, pollute, prostitute, ravage, ravish, red brass, rose metal, scramble, shot metal, shuffle, silicon bronze, silicon steel, solder, spiegeleisen, stainless steel, steel, sterling silver, stir up, structural iron, syncretize, taint, temper, throw together, tombac, tool steel, toss together, tula metal, twist, type metal, ulcerate, violate, vitiate, vulgarize, warp, white gold, white metal, work, wrought iron, yellow brass, yellow metal
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