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MFA Acc. #: 2003.50


A solid mixture of two or more metallic elements. The properties of the alloy can be significantly different from any of the constituents. For example, copper and nickel individually have high electrical conductivities, but their alloy is a poor electrical conductor. Small amounts of additional materials can also produced major changes in a metal. For example, iron can be changed into steel with the addition of 1% of carbon. In general, alloys are harder and more corrosion resistant than the individual metals. An amalgam is a specific type of alloy containing mercury and any other metal. Examples of some common alloys are: cast iron, stainless steel, brass, bronze, and sterling silver.


Synonyms and Related Terms

slitina (Ces.); legering (Dan.); Legierung (Deut.); aleación (Esp.); alliage (Fr.); lega (It.); legering (Ned., Nor., Sven.); stop metali (Pol.); liga metálica (Port.); liga (Port.)

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Theodore J. Reinhart, 'Glossary of Terms', Engineered Plastics, ASM International, 1988