Surface Engineering of Metals - Principles Equipment and Technologies

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Ferrous metallurgy involves processes and alloys based on iron while non-ferrous metallurgy involves processes and alloys based on other metals. The production of ferrous metals accounts for 95 percent of world metal production. The earliest recorded metal employed by humans appears to be gold , which can be found free or " native ".

Small amounts of natural gold have been found in Spanish caves used during the late Paleolithic period, c. Certain metals, notably tin, lead , and at a higher temperature, copper, can be recovered from their ores by simply heating the rocks in a fire or blast furnace, a process known as smelting. To date, the earliest evidence of copper smelting is found at the Belovode site near Plocnik.

The earliest use of lead is documented from the late neolithic settlement of Yarim Tepe in Iraq,. Copper smelting is also documented at this site at about the same time period soon after BC , although the use of lead seems to precede copper smelting. Early metallurgy is also documented at the nearby site of Tell Maghzaliyah , which seems to be dated even earlier, and completely lacks pottery.

However, the ultimate beginnings cannot be clearly ascertained and new discoveries are both continuous and ongoing. In the Near East , about BC, it was discovered that by combining copper and tin, a superior metal could be made, an alloy called bronze. This represented a major technological shift known as the Bronze Age.


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The extraction of iron from its ore into a workable metal is much more difficult than for copper or tin. The secret of extracting and working iron was a key factor in the success of the Philistines. It is stated that metallurgy is the second oldest profession of mankind, but for this there are no proof. Historical developments in ferrous metallurgy can be found in a wide variety of past cultures and civilizations. This includes the ancient and medieval kingdoms and empires of the Middle East and Near East , ancient Iran , ancient Egypt , ancient Nubia , and Anatolia Turkey , Ancient Nok , Carthage , the Greeks and Romans of ancient Europe , medieval Europe, ancient and medieval China , ancient and medieval India , ancient and medieval Japan , amongst others.

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Many applications, practices, and devices associated or involved in metallurgy were established in ancient China, such as the innovation of the blast furnace , cast iron , hydraulic -powered trip hammers , and double acting piston bellows. A 16th century book by Georg Agricola called De re metallica describes the highly developed and complex processes of mining metal ores, metal extraction and metallurgy of the time. Agricola has been described as the "father of metallurgy". Extractive metallurgy is the practice of removing valuable metals from an ore and refining the extracted raw metals into a purer form.

In order to convert a metal oxide or sulphide to a purer metal, the ore must be reduced physically, chemically , or electrolytically. Concentrating the particles of value in a form supporting separation enables the desired metal to be removed from waste products.

Mining may not be necessary, if the ore body and physical environment are conducive to leaching. Leaching dissolves minerals in an ore body and results in an enriched solution. The solution is collected and processed to extract valuable metals. Ore bodies often contain more than one valuable metal. Tailings of a previous process may be used as a feed in another process to extract a secondary product from the original ore.

Additionally, a concentrate may contain more than one valuable metal. That concentrate would then be processed to separate the valuable metals into individual constituents. Common engineering metals include aluminium , chromium , copper , iron , magnesium , nickel , titanium and zinc.

These are most often used as alloys.


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  • Much effort has been placed on understanding the iron-carbon alloy system, which includes steels and cast irons. Plain carbon steels those that contain essentially only carbon as an alloying element are used in low-cost, high-strength applications where weight and corrosion are not a problem. Cast irons, including ductile iron , are also part of the iron-carbon system. Stainless steel or galvanized steel is used where resistance to corrosion is important. Aluminium alloys and magnesium alloys are used for applications where strength and lightness are required.

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    Copper-nickel alloys such as Monel are used in highly corrosive environments and for non-magnetic applications. Nickel-based superalloys like Inconel are used in high-temperature applications such as gas turbines , turbochargers , pressure vessels , and heat exchangers.

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    For extremely high temperatures, single crystal alloys are used to minimize creep. In production engineering , metallurgy is concerned with the production of metallic components for use in consumer or engineering products. This involves the production of alloys, the shaping, the heat treatment and the surface treatment of the product.

    Determining the hardness of the metal using the Rockwell, Vickers, and Brinell hardness scales is a commonly used practice that helps better understand the metal's elasticity and plasticity for different applications and production processes. To achieve this goal, the operating environment must be carefully considered.

    In a saltwater environment, ferrous metals and some aluminium alloys corrode quickly. Metals exposed to cold or cryogenic conditions may endure a ductile to brittle transition and lose their toughness, becoming more brittle and prone to cracking. Metals under continual cyclic loading can suffer from metal fatigue. Metals under constant stress at elevated temperatures can creep. Cold-working processes, in which the product's shape is altered by rolling, fabrication or other processes while the product is cold, can increase the strength of the product by a process called work hardening.

    Work hardening creates microscopic defects in the metal, which resist further changes of shape. Various forms of casting exist in industry and academia. These include sand casting , investment casting also called the lost wax process , die casting , and continuous castings. Each of these forms has advantages for certain metals and applications considering factors like magnetism and corrosion. Common heat treatment processes include annealing , precipitation strengthening , quenching , and tempering.

    Quenching is the process of cooling a high-carbon steel very quickly after heating, thus "freezing" the steel's molecules in the very hard martensite form, which makes the metal harder. There is a balance between hardness and toughness in any steel; the harder the steel, the less tough or impact-resistant it is, and the more impact-resistant it is, the less hard it is. Tempering relieves stresses in the metal that were caused by the hardening process; tempering makes the metal less hard while making it better able to sustain impacts without breaking.

    Surface Engineering of Metals Principles, Equipment, Technologies Materials Science & Technology

    Often, mechanical and thermal treatments are combined in what are known as thermo-mechanical treatments for better properties and more efficient processing of materials. These processes are common to high-alloy special steels, superalloys and titanium alloys. Electroplating is a chemical surface-treatment technique.

    Surface Engineering of Metals : Principles, Equipment, Technologies - Semantic Scholar

    It involves bonding a thin layer of another metal such as gold , silver , chromium or zinc to the surface of the product. This is done by selecting the coating material electrolyte solution which is the material that is going to coat the workpiece gold, silver,zinc. There needs to be two electrodes of different materials: one the same material as the coating material and one that is receiving the coating material. Equipment technology for coating and surface engineering processes. Types and properties of precursors and feedstock materials for coating and surface treatment processes.

    Processing, structure, properties and performance relationships of coatings and surface treatments. Structure and properties of material including metals, metallic alloys, cermets, ceramics, polymers and their composites. Properties of substrate materials and their suitability to different surface engineering processes.

    Surface Engineering of Metals: Principles, Equipment, Technologies

    Knowledge of selected engineering properties of advanced coatings and surface treatments and factors having effects on these. Specifications used for industrial applications. Industrial applications of coatings and surface treatments.

    Conditions of various technical equipment and industrial processes. Engineering properties of coatings and surface treatments, with special focus in wear, friction, corrosion, oxidation, electrical, magnetic and other functional properties.