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Alloy Castings – A Highly Specialized Industry

By Ian MacOlive

Alloy castings have opened opportunities for industries throughout the world. Many industries have been established in order to meet the demands created by the products of alloy castings.

Alloys are metals that come from two or more elements. These alloys are created to add strength to an existing metal by strengthening its properties. Creating castings involves liquefying these metals and pouring them into a hollow mould that is in a specific shape. The metals are then allowed to solidify and removed from the mould, which is when they become castings. This process is very common, as it allows metals to take new shapes that they otherwise would not be able to take.

Castings can be created from a variety of different alloys, as iron, aluminum, zinc, copper, titanium, magnesium, and nickel have the right properties. Steel is one of the most widely used alloys and is generally made up of iron and carbon, although manganese, vanadium, and chrome can also be included. The addition of these elements allows the iron to become stronger, which is a necessity when using it to build structures.

Steel and iron are used heavily in the construction industry, as nails, bolts and screws all come from these materials. They are also relied upon in the automotive, shipping, aerospace, and transportation industries, due to their strength and durability. The steel industry is a worldwide entity and is one of the reasons why formerly poor countries like China and India have enjoyed an economic resurgence in recent years.

As far as copper alloys go, bronze, which is a combination of copper and tin, is the most common. Bronze is popular because it stands up well against corrosion and metal fatigue, so it can be used in a variety of different situations. Many plumbing valves and tubing are made from bronze, as it will not erode in the water. Likewise, since it is a great conduction, bronze is used in electrical cables. Bronze is an alloy that has been around for a long time, as castings were originally used to make weaponry.

Castings of brass are obtained from zinc and copper. In the 1960s, brass was used in engineering to make brass valves. Though not commonly used nowadays for the same purposes, brass is still used to make musical instruments, fire hose fittings, screws and rods.

The most versatile of these alloys are those that come from aluminum, as this is an extremely durable metal. Adding elements like zinc, copper, and manganese adds to this metal’s strength, resistance to corrosion, and ability to cast, which is why this is such a popular alloy. Aluminum is frequently used in the automobile and aviation industries so make parts, engines, and other items. It is also used in the railway industry on certain parts of the train.

Other castings use metals like tungsten any steel to create x-ray tubes, military armor, welding parts, and turbine parts. Manganese alloys can be used to create railway tracks and other items that require extremely hard types of steel and can be used in a number of different industries. Stainless steel is another alloy that is used in a number of different industries and many popular castings are made from this material.

Mark Smith is Manager of AA Alloy Foundry, a Alloy Foundry and Castings Company, specializing in non-ferrous castings, situated in Benoni, South Africa. To get more information, visit Alloy Castings

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
MacOlive, Ian "Alloy Castings – A Highly Specialized Industry." Alloy Castings – A Highly Specialized Industry. 21 Jun. 2010. 22 Nov 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
MacOlive, I (2010, June 21). Alloy Castings – A Highly Specialized Industry. Retrieved November 22, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
MacOlive, Ian "Alloy Castings – A Highly Specialized Industry"

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