Metallurgy and It's Importance in Industry
Metallurgy can be defined as the scientific study of metallic qualities. It is the in depth examination of the chemical and physical properties of any given metal. Metallurgy examines metallic qualities in respect to the production and purification of these metals. In various industries, metal is a key component of production. Different metals are constantly being used in different industries to produce different materials and structures. An engineering investigation of these metallic components is therefore important if not critical to the overall production process. This is where metallurgy plays an important role.
Metallurgical analysis is used to determine several aspects of the metals incorporated in any production process. This largely includes failure analysis. Failure analysis provides critical data on current failures observed with a metal or alloy. It is also useful in preventing future disasters associated with the metal's observed characteristics. This kind of information plays crucial when developing a product to better standards and ensuring several optimal conditions are adhered to when using the product.
Causes of metallic failure
There are many reasons why metallic substances may fail. The obvious two are general degradation caused by prolonged exposure to environmental conditions and friction. A metallurgical engineering investigation further highlights more factors that result in metallic failure. Metallurgy can be used, for instance, to examine the optimal temperature at which certain metallic parts of a machine can function before breaking down. It can also highlight the different reactions expected if a chemical substance was to be piped through metallic pipes of a certain nature at certain temperatures. Hydrogen, which is generally present in the atmosphere, also causes some degree of metal degradation. Over time, most metals lose their abilities to handle certain conditions because of this gas. Metallurgy can therefore be used to calculate the viability of metals over certain durations of exposure to hydrogen and similarly degrading conditions.
Metallurgical examination techniques
Metallurgical engineering investigations are performed in special labs with appropriate materials. The investigations fall under the broad categories of non-destructive and destructive. A non destructive engineering investigation involves mostly involves visual exams such as magnification SEM and penetrate testing. These exams are geared towards showing superficial qualities mostly. Destructive investigations, however, delve deeper into the metals. This part of metallurgy involves activities such as sectioning of the metal, chemical testing and some mechanical tests as well. A combination of both destructive and non destructive analysis report data is then used to clearly identify the metallurgical properties as well as predict several characteristics of the metal.