What is the difference between alloys and composites?

At the most basic level, alloys and composites can seem to be very similar. However, if you look a little closer at their characteristics, properties, and applications, there are some significant ways in which they are far from alike.Alloys versus composites

An alloy is a combination of two or more elements, with at least one of these being a metal. The different components must be precisely mixed together, with the resulting alloy being described with mass percentages. For example, the alloy INCONEL 625 presents as a composition of 58% nickel, 20-23% chromium, 8-10% molybdenum, and a maximum of 5% iron.

By contrast, whilst a composite is also essentially a combination of two or more components, it differs from an alloy in one key respect: there is no requirement for a metal to be included. Instead, composites contain a “matrix” and a “reinforcement” component, which will likely be very different in terms of their chemistry and physical makeup. Wood, for example, is a composite of a lignin matrix and cellulose fibre reinforcement.

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This means that rather than creating a material that is a true mixture of its components, a composite will retain its elements as distinct from one another. This can be an effective way to create a material with advantages such as greater strength or lighter weight.

Discover more facts about the key differences between alloys and composites here:

There are many versatile surface treatments that use nickel composites, for example, so to find out which type is best for your application, it always makes sense to consult a specialist such as www.poeton.co.uk/advanced-treatments/apticote-460-nickel-composites.

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Alloy benefits

The advantage of creating an alloy is that the finished material will take on characteristics or properties which the individual components do not offer. This makes an alloy a great way to improve qualities such as durability, strength, and resistance to corrosion. Nickel composites, for example, are created with a high level of precision, and designed by expert engineers who can create the ideal blend of components to deliver the benefits required of the finished material.

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