A large numbers of engineering materials exists in the universe such as metals and non metals (leather, rubber, asbestos, plastic, ceramics, organic polymers, composites and semi conductor). Some commonly used engineering materials are broadly classified as shown in Fig. 4.1. Leather is generally used for shoes, belt drives, packing, washers etc. It is highly flexible and can easily withstand against considerable wear under suitable conditions. Rubber is commonly employed as packing material, belt drive as an electric insulator. Asbestos is basically utilized for lagging round steam pipes and steam pipe and steam boilers because it is poor conductor of heat, so avoids loss of heat to the surroundings. Engineering materials may also be categorized into metals and alloys, ceramic materials, organic polymers, composites and semiconductors. The metal and alloys have tremendous applications for manufacturing the products required by the customers.
Metals and Alloys
Metals are polycrystalline bodies consisting of a great number of fine crystals. Pure metals possess low strength and do not have the required properties. So, alloys are produced by melting or sintering two or more metals or metals and a non-metal, together. Alloys may consist of two more components. Metals and alloys are further classified into two major kind namely ferrous metals and non-ferrous metals.
(a) Ferrous metals are those which have the iron as their main constituent, such as pig iron, cast iron, wrought iron and steels.
(b) Non-ferrous metals are those which have a metal other than iron as their main constituent, such as copper, aluminium, brass, bronze, tin, silver zinc, invar etc.