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The Many Uses of Sheet Metal and Alloys

Metal is certainly one of the most important construction materials that humanity has ever used, and in fact several prehistoric ages are named after the common metals used at the time. The Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Copper Age may come to mind. But today’s metalworking is more advanced than anything in those bygone eras, and some metals may even be combined to form alloys. Steel mills may create thin steel sheets for wholesale purchases, and copper and brass alloys may be available, too. Thin aluminum strips may also be bought by factories that produce electronic goods or car parts, and stainless steel is popular for making car parts, surgical equipment, and even forks and knives. What about more specialized metals such as AMS 5510 and the like? Today’s demanding applications for metal call for equally tough materials to handle the job.

Steel and it Many Uses

Steel is refined iron, and it has been used since at least the Middle Ages. In limited quantities, blacksmiths of the time made and used steel to forge knight swords and armor plating, and Japanese blacksmiths did the same to make samurai swords, too. The Industrial Revolution ushered in an era of mass produced steel, and this allowed for skyscrapers and cars, along with railroad tracks. Steel is light and tough enough to make skyscrapers possible, and steel can be found absolutely everywhere. This metal is widely produced, traded, and used in construction of all sorts today, and the United States, Canada, China, and Germany are robust producers and users of steel. Steel imports and exports are measured in the billions of dollars in the United States, often received from Canada or China in particular. Nearly half of all this steel is used for building construction, and the rest may be used for car assembly, cutlery, surgical equipment, and more.

Some steels are refined for particular jobs. Steel is tough, but it is not indestructible, and some applications would actually corrode, melt, or even break steel. This is where AMS 5510 and the like may be used, or ASTM 666. Steels like AMS 5510 and others are a chromium-nickel stainless steel, and AMS 5510 may be found in sheets, strips, and more. These metals may endure higher extremes of temperature than ordinary steel or other metals, and this is essential for some applications such as the inside of jumbo jet engines or train engines. Such metals may also endure more pressure or heavier loads than other types of metals, allowing them to survive and do a good day’s work. And of course, metals like these resist corrosion and rust, or else their constitution would degrade and they might break or shear off during work.

Steel is often rolled into sheets during production, and hot rolled steel is imprecise in its dimensions. This metal is sufficient for uses such as making I-beams or railroad tracks. Meanwhile, steel may be cold rolled, meaning that after hot-rolling in high temperatures, this metal is rolled again in room temperature. This makes for steel with precise dimensions and a tough, glossy finish to protect it. Such cold rolled steel is ideal for making car parts, electronic goods, and more, but care should be taken when packing and shipping it to wholesale buyers such as factories.

Alloys

Pure metal such as iron, nickel, lead, gold, copper, and more can be mined and found in the ground, and have been used for millennia. Some applications today call for more, however, and this is where alloys are used. These are composite metals made of two or more “ingredient” metals, developed with specific metal types and ratios in mind for particular results. These alloys offer properties that other metals lack.

Underwater pipes may be made of alloys that can withstand constant exposure to salt water without corrosion, essential for protecting the pipe’s insides. Other alloys may be used to make metal bellows, which are flexible, tough tubes that carry very hot, cold, and/or pressurized liquids or gases. Ordinary metals would rupture, but alloy bellows can flex and contain pressure or temperature extremes without a problem. Chemical plants may use corrosion-resistant alloys for their carrying tanks, pipes, pumps, and valves.

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