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Strengthening Materials for High Quality Precision Metal Stamping in Minneapolis, MN

March 16th, 2017 · No Comments

The sheet metals we use at Thomas Engineering Company range from high performance stainless steels to aluminum and copper alloys. These materials have been altered to improve their basic characteristics and to create additional properties that render the metal viable for industrial use. The process of treating sheet metals used for precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN, begins with the atomically-pure material.

Pure metals are not as structurally sound as the altered versions. In fact, they are often soft and the molecules flow and move easily. To use the metal in a manufacturing setting, the structure of the metal itself must be changed. This is where alloys come in.

Essentially a compound of one basic metal and several other metal or metalloid materials, alloys are what we most often encounter in our everyday lives and on the manufacturing floor of virtually every industrial building. Stainless steel is a commonly-recognized alloy, but often coppers and aluminums used day-to-day are types of alloys as well.

Alloys are formed by filling in the gaps. The literal structure of metal atoms resembles a grid or matrix of spheres connected by lines. These lines are interatomic bonds and the spheres are the atoms themselves. While the formation of this matrix is complete, there are inevitable gaps between the atoms and bonds where empty space creates the malleability of pure metals.

Though these gaps add flexibility to the pure metal, the give is limited and the material still lacks in most other properties necessary for successful metal stamping. To add additional flexibility, elasticity, durability, strength, ductility, corrosion resistance, and many other properties, the pure metal must be alloyed with materials that offer these qualities.

To alloy the pure metal with additional materials without damaging the structure of any materials involved, the matrix is kept intact, but gaps are filled with small atoms. These fillers are called interstitial alloying elements, and they work alongside other alloying agents called substitutional alloying elements that meld or take the place of the pure metal atoms in the matrix (example figure).

Adding in alloying elements strengthens the pure metal material without significantly changing its structure, and it can now be used effectively to form the parts TEC customers need. For more information about the alloys and high quality sheet metals we use in our precision metal stamping in Minneapolis, MN, contact Thomas Engineering Company at (763) 533-1501.

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