In a metallurgical lab testing facility, there are many services available to those within, for example, the mining, alloying or casting industries. Some examples of metallurgical analysis services include chemical analysis of alloys, as well as mechanical testing of metals.
As a metal’s properties may vary depending on how it was processed, metallurgical analysis is important in order to determine the most effective methods for extracting and purifying metal from ore.
The four main types of metallurgical testing used in a lab are salt spray corrosion resistance, tensile strength, hardness and adhesion tests. We’ll take a look at each of these below:
- The salt spray test is used to check how resistant an alloy is to corrosion. The alloy sample is exposed to the same conditions it would experience during regular use, including exposure to heat. It’s then observed for surface degradation or rusting under these conditions.
- Tensile strength testing involves bending a metal strip until it breaks. A sample of a known area is tested, and the strength of the alloy is compared to a reference standard.
- Hardness testing typically includes a method of gauging indentation hardness by applying pressure with diamond tips on an alloy’s surface. Microscopes may be used to observe what happens at different rates of indentation. A Rockwell test determines hardness by measuring the depth of penetration.
- Adhesion tests are used to determine how well an alloy will adhere to another material. Bonds are tested at different intervals, and surfaces observed for good or bad bonding.
How do different industries make use of these types of metallurgical tests?
The mining industry makes use of metallurgical analysis services to ensure the metals they are extracting are pure, and will last through the long-term wear and tear associated with regular use. Alloying is important for production, as different metals provide different properties that may be useful in various contexts. Casting involves rigorous assessment to guarantee alloys meet rigorous specifications before being used.
The casting industry needs to know exactly what mixture of metals will provide the best finished product. This is why many types of metallurgical tests are so important, as they guide in alloying and purification processes that can be used to produce the right metal.
Industries like aerospace and automotive engineering need especially high-strength materials that are also lightweight in order to reduce fuel costs or weight on an aircraft. For this reason, metallurgical testing services are used to determine which alloys will help achieve those goals.
Metallurgical analysis also allows companies to develop a high level of expertise in a specific area, and improve the products they’re making. For example, by determining which properties can be refined out of certain metals while keeping other important qualities intact, metallurgical experts can produce high-grade, cost-effective products.
Having established an alloy’s properties beforehand, this makes it possible to more efficiently design the metal into certain parts of machinery or equipment that will provide the necessary functionality for years to come.
For more examples of the metallurgical analysis services we work with at J.F. Heat Treating Inc., get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation.