Alloys are basically a combination of metals. The basic idea behind combining elements has always been to create products which possess more good qualities all the while reducing their bad points – accordingly, alloys are also an innovation aimed at enhancing the properties of metals by combining them. Some of the most common types of alloys are steel, stainless steel, brass, bronze, etc.
Since there are many types of alloys thus, it is obvious that their advantages vary from one kind to another. In general, however, there are a few common advantages associated with most alloys, which are as follows:
Resists corrosion – a very useful property of alloys, especially steel, is their ability to resist corrosion – or more simply said, their ability to resist rusting. The one crucial problem associated with iron is that it is prone to rusting: the oxidation process whereby iron comes into contact with oxygen, water vapour and air leads it to form reddish coloured rust which degrades the metal and leads to its weakening. The addition of chromium to steel sheets and good quality stainless steel sheet prevents this issue, because chromium has corrosion-resisting properties.
Is stronger – it is no wonder that alloys possess more strength than their pure metal counterparts. The reason behind this is quite simple. For example, once again taking steel and iron as an example, one can see that the former is much stronger than the latter. The reason to this is that in the production of steel, carbon is added. What carbon does is basically increase the bond between the molecules, thereby preventing them from slipping by one another (which technically means that the iron will break). This is why stainless steel shelving is a popular choice in comparison to iron shelving.
Less heavy – most alloys are also lighter than pure metals: this is basically due to the addition of non-metallic compounds and elements which are usually much lighter than metals. It is important to know here, however, that alloys are not weaker in comparison to pure metals (as was just mentioned above) simply because they’re lighter. Instead, these alloys show a higher weight-to-strength ratio, which means that they can show much higher strength with a relatively lower weight in comparison to pure metals.
The above are only a few advantages that alloys have over pure metals. Many more advantages specific to each and every alloy type – for example, increased malleability – or the ability to change the shape of a metal – as well as less brittleness are also good examples of their advantages. It is no wonder then that nowadays, the use of alloys outweighs that of pure metals: the use of steel, bronze, brass, etc. is comparatively higher than that of iron, copper, etc.