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Metallurgy Engineering Information

Some people may be familiar with metallurgical engineering, others with metallurgy and materials engineering. These two are one and the same thing and both involve the study of materials such as metals, ceramics, polymers, metals, semiconductors and composites.

Materials scientists, those involved in the study of these materials, test how these components react to electrical currents, magnetic fields, application of stresses, corrosion, high or low temperatures and bacterial degradation. Add to this, they come up with new ideas when designing materials that are deem to meet certain requirements. Just recently, the engineering field also developed aerogels, aramid and carbon fibers as well as superconductors and smart materials that will help improve sensors and switches. Furthermore, metallurgy and materials engineering also deals with the study of bone, feathers, wood and all other natural materials.

Metallurgy as a domain of materials science

Metallurgy (one of the important components of metallurgy and materials engineering) is one that is in charge with the study of chemical and physical behaviors of metallic elements in relation to their mixtures known as alloys. It is also called as the technology of metals thus creating a distinction between it as an engineering field and that of metalworking crafts.

Scope of metallurgy and materials engineering

The science includes a wide array of aspects including extractive metallurgy. This is the practice wherein valuable metals are removed from an ore before they are extracted to their purer counterparts. In this process, the ore is reduced either through physical or chemical or eletrolytical processes.

Those practicing extractive metallurgy are basically interested with tailings, feed and concentrate. Once mining is through, large portions of the ore are broken and crushed or grinded to convert them into smaller particles. The smaller particles will then be classified into either waste or valuable materials.

The science is also interested in the study of alloys. This includes common engineering metals like chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, titanium, zinc, nickel and aluminum. In line with this, metallurgy and materials engineering focuses more efforts on iron-carbon alloy systems like steels and cast irons.

The concept may also incorporate production engineering in the field. In relation to this, metallurgy is concerned with how metallic components are produced for use in engineering and consumer products. Alloys are typically shaped and undergo heat treatment before they are transformed into these goods.

Job of a metallurgist

A metallurgist in metallurgy and materials engineering takes charge of achieving balance between performance in temperature extremes and material properties (including cost, strength, toughness, weight, hardness and fatigue as well as corrosion resistance). He does this using the operating environment. For instance, in a saltwater environment, aluminum alloys as well as ferrous metals corrode quickly. Those that are exposed to cold conditions, on the other hand, may lose toughness thus resulting to cracks and brittleness.

Metallurgy and materials engineering will not be complete unless the expert has knowledge on other metalworking processes. While metallurgy and metalworking are two different things, the metallurgist must learn how to separate each metalworking process from the other. That way, he will not be confused with his job.

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