Posted June 27th 2016

What is the most abundant metal in the world?

Aluminium is the most common metal found in the Earth’s crust, and the third most abundant element. Iron is the fourth most abundant element in the crust, but makes up 34% of the Earth’s mass. Although there is more aluminium in the crust, it is much lighter than iron and therefore less abundant by mass. However, in terms of surface availability or number of atoms it is considered more abundant.

What is metal made of?

Some metals, such as platinum, copper, gold and silver, are found in their pure elemental form. Other metals, such as bronze and brass, are made by combining two different metals. Copper and tin, for example, are smelted together to make bronze, which is an alloy of the two.

What is the most commonly used metal in the world?

Steel is the most commonly used metal in the world today, widely used by the building industry. An alloy of iron and other elements, steel has the benefits of high tensile strength combined with low cost which make it perfect for use in construction. It is used in the construction of roads, railways, infrastructure, appliances and buildings and most large, modern structures are supported by a steel skeleton.

What is the most expensive metal in the world?

Contrary to popular belief, the most expensive metal in the world is not platinum or gold. It is Californium 252, which weighs in at US$27 million per gram, and is second only to antimatter when it comes to the most expensive materials in the world. Compare this to the price of platinum at US$60 per gram and gold at US$56 per gram and you can see the difference.

What is the strongest metal in the world?

In terms of tensile strength, the strongest natural metal in the world is tungsten. With an ultimate strength of 1510 megapascals it possesses the highest strength of any natural metal and also has the highest melting point of any metal (that is unalloyed). If we widen the field to include alloys then steel would be considered the strongest, although this is a field that is constantly evolving and changing. The hardest metal, using the Moh scale as the deciding factor, is chromium – a key ingredient in stainless steel. Chromium is often used in chrome plating, which protects against corrosion and physical damage.



Posted June 10th 2016

Low melting point alloys are important and at William Rowland we produce a range of them, conforming to industry standards, or customer specifications (where practical). Below are some of our most popular alloys.

Press alloy is a low melting point alloy and a eutectic. Eutectic alloys have two or more materials and a eutectic composition. It is also a bismuth based alloy. Press alloy has a sharp melting point of 138°C and expands on solidification like the majority of bismuth based alloys. The low melting point of press alloy means it is easy and safe to handle. It can also be used indefinitely under normal conditions. Composed of 58% bismuth and 42% tin, it is supplied in 1kg ingots.

Lens alloy is another bismuth based alloy which also contains indium giving it an extremely low melting point. It is eutectic, with a melting point of 58°C making it an ideal material for use as a holding medium , or ‘button’ in lens grinding. William Rowland produces several different compositions of lens alloy usually made up of bismuth, indium, tin and lead in varying percentages. Cadium can also be added. Lens 117 alloy, for example, is composed of 44.7% bismuth, 22.6% lead, 19.1 % indium, 8.3% tin and 5.3% cadmium. It is supplied in various forms and sizes.

Bend alloy is the most widely used fusible alloy in the industry. It is also popularly known as Wood’s metal after Barnabas Wood, a dentist and inventor who discovered the alloy in 1860. It is a eutectic alloy and is composed of 50% bismuth, 26.7% lead, 13.3% tin and 10% cadmium. It has many applications and be used as a solder, a casting metal, a coupling fluid in heat baths and a seal for fire sprinklers to name but a few. It is also commonly used as a support for thin-walled metal tubing during bending operations, chiefly due to its characteristic of expansion on solidification. Bend alloy is supplied in 1kg ingots rather than various forms and sizes.

Contact us for information on our 158 deg alloys and 281 deg alloys.



Posted June 3rd 2016

A low melting point alloy might also be referred to as a fusible alloy. It is a metal alloy that can be easily fused, and as such can be melted at a low temperature. For an alloy to fit into this category its melting point would need to be below 183 °C, although they are usually lower than this. They are also commonly eutectic alloys, which means they melt at a single temperature like a pure metal. These alloys typically contain either indium or bismuth but can also be made up from tin, lead and cadmium.
Fusible, or low melting point alloys are also commonly good thermal conductors with high liquid fluidity and low vapour pressure. They have controlled thermal dimensional properties that mean they can be made with minimal solidification shrinkage. Bismuth, which is commonly used in fusible alloys, can expand 3.3% of volume when it changes from liquid to solid. As a result of this, alloys with over 55% of bismuth expand on solidification, whilst those with less than 48% contract.

Once a fusible alloy is melted it can be used as a coolant. They are stable under heating and unlike other coolants can give a high level of thermal conductivity, particularly if they are made with indium or sodium.

Bismuth 3