C1.3.2 Alloys


Properties of Alloys

  • Alloys are mixtures of metals to change the properties for a specific purpose
  • The different sized atoms distort layers in the lattice
    • More difficult for the layers to slide over each other
    • Hence alloys are harder than pure metals
      • e.g pure copper, gold, iron and aluminium are too soft
  • Most metals in everyday use are alloys
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Cast iron

  • Iron oxide reduced to iron in a blast furnace
  • Iron from the blast furnace is about 96% pure
  • The impurities make it brittle and limits its uses
  • Used as cast iron


  • Steel is an alloy- mixtures of iron and carbon, and often other metals
  • Low carbon steel - easily shaped
  • High carbon steel - hard
  • Stainless steel - resistant to corrosion
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