Meaning of Metallurgy

What is Metallurgy:

Metallurgy is a science composed of specialized industrial techniques and operations that are used both to obtain and to treat the metals found in metallic ores.

Metallurgy is used to carry out the preparation, physical or chemical treatment, production and alloying of metals according to their use.

In this sense, in metallurgy it is of the utmost importance that the techniques are applied correctly to obtain a metal in optimal conditions.

Metallurgy has been carried out for many centuries in order to make stronger and more durable tools, as well as for construction. At present its application extends to various areas.

Hence, metals are present in people's daily activities, in the objects we use, in the spaces in which we find ourselves, among others.

History of metallurgy

Metallurgy has been part of the history of man for many centuries, approximately, from the year 3500 BC.

Among the first metals that man came into contact with are copper, gold and silver. At the end of the Neolithic, man could find these metals almost in their pure state, which were beaten until they were as flat as possible.

It is believed that the human being was discovering one metal after another, and that to this extent various techniques were developed to take advantage of its usefulness in the manufacture of different utensils.

Hence, their manufacture improved, especially after learning to melt metals and pour them into molds in various ways to make tools and other useful objects, which they could produce in greater numbers with this technique.

Consequently, metals replaced objects made of bone and wood, which were less resistant. Even, a long time later, they began to make decorative pieces with precious metals to display power and wealth.

Later, around 3000 BC, the copper and tin alloy was made from which bronze was obtained, beginning the Bronze Age. This metal was characterized by being hard, malleable and sharp.

Later, new metals were discovered as combinations and alloys were made, and even new techniques were established to work these elements.

In this way, the Iron Age was born, which had its beginning in Anatolia (East Asia). Iron is one of the most widely used metals since its appearance thanks to its abundance, hardness and resistance.

Metallurgy went from being a craft work to becoming a science in which different techniques are applied in the industrial sector to take advantage of the applications of metals as much as possible, and its development depends on the mining activity to obtain metals.

Likewise, metallurgy has expanded to various areas, has developed for the benefit of human beings and is an important part of engineering.

Metallurgy Procedures

Metallurgy comprises the following procedures:

  • From the natural mineral the metal is obtained, which is separated from the gangue.
  • The removal of impurities from the metal is carried out through purification or refining, the latter being the decarbonization of iron.
  • The alloys are prepared.
  • Finally, various treatments are carried out for the use of metals, which can be mechanical, thermal or thermochemical.

In this sense, in metallurgy there are different techniques that are used to transform metal according to its type.

For example, powder metallurgy is applied to make metal powders, iron and steel plants to treat iron and steel, and special metallurgies to treat metals such as copper, aluminum or tin, among others.

See also Metallurgical Industry.

Extractive metallurgy

Extractive metallurgy is an area specialized in the research and application of various processes to treat minerals or elements that have some useful metal, since, depending on the product to be obtained, a technique must be determined to obtain the metal.

Its purpose is to use simple processes, obtain the highest possible efficiency, achieve the highest purity of the metal and not cause damage to the environment.

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