The Uses of Steel and Monel


For countless millennia, the human race has made use of metals for making tools, weapons, and more, and in fact the use of metal long predates the use of writing. Some prehistoric ages of human development are named after the metals used at the time, with the Iron Age, Copper Age, and Bronze Age serving as fine examples. In medieval times, blacksmiths made steel in limited amounts to forge knight sword and shields, and by the Industrial Revolution, various grades of steel were being made on a truly massive scale for industry. These various grades of steel then and now exceed anything that was built in the Iron or Bronze Ages, and these grades of steel may be used for nearly anything. Steel is known for its great strength, relatively light weight, and more.

Steel can’t do everything, though. None of the grades of steel might stand up well to some certain extremes in factories or large vehicles, so this is where alloys such as monel might be used. Monel VS stainless steel is a matter of application, and the uses of alloys like monel or copper and aluminum alloys are quite varied, not to mention nickel alloys. But what about stainless steel grades and stainless steel uses?

On Steel

This metal is made from refined iron, and has been used for many centuries for nearly everything. And starting with the Industrial Revolution and into the present day, steel proved essential for building skyscrapers, trains, factory parts, cars, and even cutlery and surgical equipment, too. Foundries melt down metals and forge pure steel, and steel may be made into sheets and strips for wholesale purchase. For example, steel can be hot-rolled, or subjected to pressure and heat in rollers to make a final product. Such steel has imprecise dimensions, but it is easy to produce and it is fine for applications such as making railroad tracks. Meanwhile, hot-rolled steel sheets can also be cold-rolled, or rolled again at room temperature to further refine it. Cold-rolled steel has a tough, glossy finish and it has precise dimensions. This makes steel ideal for applications such as making car bodies or household appliances.

Alloys

While steel is widely produced around the world and is a staple of construction, steel is not truly universal. There are some applications where steel would in fact suffer and become compromised, and no one wants that. This is why alloys are used instead, or composite metals that are designed with particular properties and uses in mind. Alloys are not often found in nature; rather, they are engineered and made in foundries, and a number of “recipes” of alloys can be found around the world. Metals such as steel, copper, nickel, iron, and aluminum are used in alloys, and other elements such as silicon or carbon may be used, too. An alloy may be engineered to withstand extremes such as pressure, heat, cold, or corrosion. This allows them to function where ordinary metals such as steel or aluminum might become compromised.

Monel is a fine example of this. Monel is a series of nickel-based alloys that may have copper, aluminum, carbon, steel, or other ingredients added to make an alloy that is highly resistant to corrosion. This makes monel a fine choice for making tanks, pipes, valves, and pumps in chemical plants where corrosive materials would damage and compromise other materials. Alloys may also be used to make undersea pipes that must endure constant exposure to sea water that would degrade other metals. Monel is more expensive to produce and purchase than simple steel is, but given its useful properties, businesses in some sectors may be quite happy to purchase items made of this alloy.

Alloys are also useful for making metal bellows (not to be confused with blacksmith or furnace bellows, which blow air). Modern metal bellows are thin but tough and flexible metal tubes that can carry extremely hot, cold, pressurized, or corrosive materials in them. Such bellows would soon melt, rupture, or disintegrate unless made with the correct alloys, and on-site workers may ask inspectors to look over metal bellows to check them for any faults or developing problems. Faulty metal bellows, even those made of tough alloys, may sometimes need repair or replacement.

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