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Alloy is a metal, composing of a mixture of elements. Most of alloys are composed of a base metal with small amounts of additives or alloying elements. The typical examples of alloys are steel/cast iron (iron base alloys), bronze/brass (copper base alloys), aluminum alloys, nickel base alloys, magnesium base alloys, titanium alloys.

Alloys may be prepared by different technological methods: melting, sintering of a powders mixture, high temperature diffusion of an alloying element into the base metal, plasma and vapor deposition of different elements, electroplating etc.

Alloy structure may be a single phase or a multi phase.


Phase is a uniform part of an alloy, having a certain chemical composition and structure, and which is separated from other alloy constituents by a phase boundary.

An alloy phase may be in form of valence compound (substance formed from two or more elements), with a fixed ratio determining the composition) or in form of solid solution.

Solid solution is a phase, where two or more elements are completely soluble in each other.

Depending on the ratio of the solvent (matrix) metal atom size and solute element atom size, two types of solid solutions may be formed: substitution or interstitial.
solid interstitial
picture by fantafabulous

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