Metallurgist working by blast furnaces

Metal – elements that usually have the following properties: conduct electricity and heat, easily formed, shiny appearance. Most metals are solid at room temperature,

Metallurgical engineer – a highly specialized profession. Most Metallurgical engineers work at manufacturing companies and need solid research skills and refined training. They seek the most efficient and least expensive ways to turn the raw ore into usable finished products. This position also requires work with microscopes, spectrographs and, sometimes, X-ray machines and equipment.

Metallurgy – a domain of materials science that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their intermetallic compounds, and their compounds, which are called alloys.

  • copper, silver, and brass
  • ferrous metals – steel

Iron (Fe) – the Industrial Revolution (BBC podcast 33:00) – explores two moments in industrial history that transformed this most abundant of metal elements into the key material out of which modern life is constructed.

Steel – An alloy of Iron (Fe) and not more than 2 percent carbon (C) and smaller amounts of other elements are called steel.

  • Damascus steel – a hot- forged steel used in Middle Eastern swordmaking from about 1100 to 1700 AD. Damascus swords were of legendary sharpness and strength, and were apocryphally claimed to be able to cut through lesser quality European swords and even rock.
  • Steel buildings – Steel is the worlds most used construction material. Steel is found everywhere from paper clips, tools and cars to buildings in different shapes. In the building sector steel is mostly used as framework and surface layers for facades and roofs


  • annealing – a heat treatment that alters a material to increase its ductility and to make it more workable. It involves heating material to above its critical temperature, maintaining a suitable temperature, and then cooling. Annealing can induce ductility, soften material, relieve internal stresses, refine the structure by making it homogeneous, and improve cold working properties. This process is performed by heating the material (generally until glowing) for a while before cooling.
  • shaping, stamping, forming

Nickel (Ni) & Rhenium (Re) (BBC podcast 34:00) – Nickel is the metal that made the jet age possible, not to mention margarine and bicycle sprockets. We visit Rolls Royce to discover the incredible materials science that this chemical element and its super-alloys have driven.

New materials

  • CrMnFeCoNi, a new alloy that contains five major elements rather than one dominant one. This alloy exhibits exceptional damage tolerance, tensile strength above one gigapascal, and fracture toughness values that are off the charts, exceeding that of virtually all other metallic alloys.

That’s engineering

  • ductility – a measure of a material’s ability to undergo appreciable plastic deformation before fracture; it may be expressed as percent elongation or percent area reduction from a tensile test.

Engineering ideas

  • annealing, metallurgy, heat treatment, ductility, workable, critical temperature, internal stresses, homogeneous, shaping, stamping, forming

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