Science Quiz / Most Commonly Used Alloys

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Can you name the most commonly used alloys?

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CompositionAlloyUses
Iron (50%+), aluminum (8–12%), nickel (15–25%), cobalt (5–40%), plus other metals such as copper and titaniumMagnets in loudspeakers and pickups in electric guitars
Mercury (45–55%), plus silver, tin, copper, and zincDental fillings
Tin (90%), antimony (7–15%), copper (4–10%)Friction-reducing coating in machine bearings
Copper (65–90%), zinc (10–35%)Door locks and bolts, brass musical instruments, central heating pipes
Copper (78–95%), tin (5–22%), plus manganese, phosphorus, aluminum, or siliconDecorative statues, musical instruments
Iron (96–98%), carbon (2–4%), plus siliconMetal structures such as bridges and heavy-duty cookware
Copper (75%), nickel (25%), plus small amounts of manganeseCoins
Aluminum (94%), copper (4.5–5%), magnesium (0.5–1.5%), manganese (0.5–1.5%)Automobile and aircraft body parts, military equipment
Copper (80–90%), tin (3–10%), zinc (2–3%), and phosphorusGuns, decorative items
Magnesium, aluminumNuclear reactors
Nickel (80%), chromium (20%)Firework ignition devices, heating elements in electrical appliances
Nickel (50–55%), titanium (45–50%)Shape-memory alloy used in medical items, spectacle frames that spring back to shape, and temperature switches
Tin (80–99%) with copper, lead, and antimonyOrnaments, used to make tableware before glass became more common
Varies. Old-fashioned solders contain a mixture of tin (50-70%), lead (30-50%), copper, antimony, and other metals. Newer solders dispense with lead for health reasons. A typical mConnecting electrical components into circuits
Iron (50%+), chromium (10–30%), plus smaller amounts of carbon, nickel, manganese, molybdenum, and other metalsJewelry, medical tools, tableware
Iron (80–98%), carbon (0.2–2%), plus other metals such as chromium, manganese, and vanadiumMetal structures, car and airplane parts, and many other uses
Cobalt (67%), chromium (28%), tungsten (4%), nickel (1%)Coating for cutting tools such as saw teeth, lathes, and chainsaws
Silver (92.5%), copper (7.5%)Cutlery, jewelry, medical tools, musical instruments
Gold (75%), palladium (17%), silver (4%), copper (4%)Jewelry
Bismuth (50%), lead (26.7%), tin (13.3%), cadmium (10%)Solder, melting element in fire sprinkler systems

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