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Research Questions

1. In a table, present the following information about steel, brass and solder.
 the elements found in each alloy
 the properties of each alloy
 the uses of each alloy
 an explanation of how the uses relate to the properties.

Steel(Stainless) Brass Solder
elements found Iron 74%
Chromium 18%
Nickel 8%
Copper 65%
Zinc 35%

Lead 67%
Tin 33%

Properties Resists corrosion
High strength
Shiny surface

Resists corrosion
Shiny, polishes well

Low melting point

Uses Sinks and kitchen
Machinery parts

Doorknobs, ornaments
Musical instruments
Electrical wires
How use relates
to property
Stainless steels resistance
to corrosion, shiny surface
and strength makes it
suitable for kitchenware and
sinks as it is both
aesthetically pleasing and
does not rust easily.
Stainless steel parts are
also used in industry for its
corrosion resistance and
Brass is used for doorknobs
and ornaments due to its
attractive shiny appearance
and can be easily polished.
It is also commonly used in
musical instruments as it
resists corrosion and is
malleable, and has
antibacterial properties. It‟s
also used for screws as it is
corrosion resistant, so it will
not rust,

Solder is most
commonly used for
wires/connectors or
pipes, as it‟s low
melting point means
it can be melted to
join metal surfaces so
the base surfaces do
not melt.
(Irwin and Farrelly et al., 2007)
(Leffler, n.d)
(Jester, 1995)
(„Antimicrobial copper displaces stainless steel, germs for medical applications‟, 2011)
(„Solder Alloys‟, 2009)

2. Identify an alloy that has been produced only in the past 50 years. Describe the use of this alloy
and the reason for its production. (Maximum 50 words)

Nitinol is a nickel-titanium alloy discovered in 1959 byr William Buehler; but not commercially
produced until the 1990s (Withers, 2013). It‟s now produced for use in medical devices, spectacle
frames and dental braces due to its properties of shape memory and superelasticity, as it is able to
restore its original shape when heated.(„Extraction of Metals‟, n.d; „ How Does Nitinol Work? All About
Nitinol Shape Memory and Superelasticity‟, n.d)

3. Produce a time-line, drawn to scale, (“Dipity- make timelines” could be used) to show the Bronze
and Iron ages. Include the commencement of mass production of aluminium and titanium.

4. Explain the chronological order of metal usage outlined in your timeline.

The bronze age began after the Stone Age, in approximately 3000BC (Irwin and Farrelly et al., 2007)
used widely for weapons and tools. The Iron age began approximately 1000BC, replacing bronze in
many uses. (Whipps, 2008). Aluminium was difficult and expensive to extract until a new method
developed in 1889 (Bellis, n.d). Titanium could not be commercially produced until 1936 with the Kroll
Process(„Titanium Element Facts‟, n.d).

5. Explain why energy is required to extract a metal from its ore.

Ores are naturally occurring mixtures that contains metals and other minerals or compounds. (Clark,
2005). Almost all extraction of metals requires a chemical reaction called reduction, which removes
the oxygen from metal compounds(„Extracting metals and making alloys‟, n.d). This needs a large
amount of energy to break and rearrange the strong chemical bonds in the compound (Irwin and
Farrelly et al., 2007)

6. Outline why there are more metals available for people to use now than there were 200 years ago.

There are more metals available today than 200 years ago as over time, technology and science
makes vast improvements. Due to this, we are able to develop better extraction methods that weren‟t
possible before, e.g electrolysis. Also over time, the costs of extracting metals goes down allowing
more metals to be available (Bellis, n.d).

7. Name a scientist or scientific team that researches the production of modern alloys and describe
their research.
A team of international research scientists at Monash University in Melbourne led by Professor Nick
Birbilis(Gary, 2013), have developed a new alloy by adding small amount of arsenic to magnesium to
reduce corrosion rates. Magnesium is an extremely light structural metal with many potential industrial
uses, but is not commonly used due to its poor corrosion resistance. The research team has
discovered that the addition of arsenic “poisons” the corrosion reaction before it completes. This
discovery could lead to widespread use in aerospace, automotive and electronics, and “will help
develop the next generation of magnesium products, which must be more stainless(Birbilis,2013).”

References 2013. 'Poisoned' alloy the metal of the future › News in Science (ABC Science).
[online] Available at:
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Antimicrobial copper displaces stainless steel, germs for medical applications. 2011. The
Tube and Pipe Journal. 2014. BBC - GCSE Bitesize: Iron and steel. [online] Available at:
ev8.shtml [Accessed: 2 Apr 2014]. 2014. extraction of metals - introduction. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 2 Apr
2014]. 2014. Titanium. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 2 Apr 2014]. 2014. gcse 1. Introduction to the Extraction of Metals method related to the
activity of reactivity series of metals igcse O Level KS4 science chemistry revision notes
revising. [online] Available at:
[Accessed: 2 Apr 2014]. 2014. Stainless Steel Properties | eMachineShop. [online] Available at:
[Accessed: 2 Apr 2014]. 2014. GCSE CHEMISTRY - Smart Alloys - Titanium - Nickel - Nitinol -
Dental Braces - Spectacle Frames - Stents - Shape Memory Alloy - SMA - GCSE
SCIENCE.. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 2
Apr 2014]. 2014. Charles Martin Hall - The History of Aluminum. [online]
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Apr 2014].
Irwin, D., Farrelly, R. and Garnett, P. 2007. Chemistry contexts. Melbourne: Pearson
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Superelasticity | [online] Available at:
Shape-Memory-and-Superelasticity.html [Accessed: 2 Apr 2014].
Kauffman, G. and Mayo, I. 2014. The Story of Nitinol: The Serendipitous Discovery of the
Memory Metal and Its Applications. The Chemical Educator, 2 (2), pp. pg1-21.
Available from: doi: 10.1007/s00897970111a. 2014. Solder Alloys :: Total Materia Article. [online] Available at:
[Accessed: 2 Apr 2014]. 2014. How the Iron Age Changed the World. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 2 Apr 2014].
Materials Science Timeline. n.d. [e-book] p. Page 14. http://www.j-bradford-
[Accessed: 2 Apr 2014]. 2014. Nitinol Fundamentals | Memry. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 2 Apr 2014]. 2014. 'Poisoning' corrosion brings stainless magnesium closer, Monash
University. [online] Available at:
brings-stainless-magnesium-closer [Accessed: 2 Apr 2014]. 2014. Nitinol materials and components from NDC | Nitinol Facts. [online]
Available at: [Accessed: 2 Apr