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An alloy is a mixture of a metal with other substances. In other words, alloying involves adding impurities to a metal sample. The other substances can be metal or non-metal. An alloy often has properties that are very different to the properties of the substances from which it is made. The added substances strengthen the metal by preventing dislocations from spreading. Ordinary steel is an alloy of iron and carbon. The carbon impurities trap dislocations. There are many types of steel that also include other metals with iron and carbon. Brass is an alloy of copper and Zinc. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin. Gold and silver that is used in coins or jewellery are also alloyed.


Tempering is a process in which a metal is melted then quickly cooled. The rapid cooling is called quenching. Usually tempering is done a number of times before a metal has the correct properties that are needed for a particular application.


Sintering is used for making ceramic objects among other things. In this process the substance is heated so that its particles stick together. It is used with substances that have a very high melting point. The resulting product is often very pure and it is formed in the process into the shape that is wanted. Unfortunately, sintered products are brittle.

Steps of roman swordsmithing

  • Purifying the iron ore.
  • Heating the iron blocks in a furnace with charcoal.
  • Hammering and getting into the needed shape. The smith used a hammer to pound the metal into blade shape. He usually used tongs to hold the iron block in place.
  • Reheating. When the blade cooled, the smith reheated it to keep it workable. While reheated and hammered repeatedly.
  • Quenching which involved the process of white heating and cooling in water. Quenching made the blade harder and stronger. At the same time it made the blade quite brittle, which was a considerable problem for the sword smiths.
  • Tempering was then done to avoid brittleness the blade was tempered. In another words it was reheated a final time to a very specific temperature. How the Romans do balanced the temperature? The smith was guided only by the blade's color and his own experience.

Failure and strength of materials

  1. List the similarities and differences between the brittle and ductile modes of failure.
  2. What is meant by the following terms:
    1. vacancies
    2. dislocations
    3. impurities
    4. grain boundaries
  3. What four terms can be used to describe a material's mechanical properties?
  4. What is meant by the following:
    1. cold working
    2. annealing
    3. tempering
    4. introduction of impurities
    5. alloying
    6. sintering


  1. Hooke's Law gives the relationship between the extension of a spring and the force applied to it. The law says they are proportional.
  2. Materials can be classified as plastic or elastic depending on how they respond to an applied force.
  3. Materials can fracture or undergo creep or fatigue when forces are applied to them.
  4. Materials have the following mechanical properties to a greater or lesser degree: strength, hardness, ductility, malleability, brittleness, stiffness.
  5. Materials can be weakened by have the following problems in their crystal lattice: vacancies, dislocations, impurities, difference in grain size.
  6. Materials can have their mechanical properties improved by one or more of the following processes: cold working, annealing, adding impurities, tempering, sintering.

End of chapter exercise

  1. State Hooke's Law in words.
  2. What do we mean by the following terms with respect to Hooke's Law?
    1. elastic limit
    2. limit of proportionality
  3. A spring is extended by 18 cm by a force of 90 N. Calculate the spring constant for this spring.
  4. A spring of length 8 cm stretches to 14 cm when a load of 0,8 N is applied to it.
    1. Calculate the spring constant for the spring.
    2. Determine the extension of the spring if a load of 0,7 N is applied to it.
  5. A spring has a spring constant of - 150  N.m - 1 . By how much will it stretch if a load of 80 N is applied to it?
  6. What do we mean by the following terms when speaking about properties of materials?
    1. hardness
    2. toughness
    3. ductility
    4. malleability
    5. stiffness
    6. strength
  7. What is Young's modulus?
  8. In what different ways can we improve the material properties of substances?
  9. What is a metal alloy?
  10. What do we call an alloy of:
    1. iron and carbon
    2. copper and zinc
    3. copper and tin
  11. Do some research on what added substances can do to the properties of steel. Present your findings in a suitable table.

Questions & Answers

is this a group chat
Nobuhle Reply
Hey can y'all define newton's 2nd law
If a resultant force act on an object...the object will accelerate in the direction of a resultant force,the acceleration of the object is directly proportional to the net force and inversely proportional to the mass of the object
how do you calculate tension force
use the formula Fnet=ma if there is tension connecting two objects
to calculate Tension, usually calculate acceleration first Draw separate free body diagrams for each body. Apply Fnet = ma to calculate Tension
how does temperature affect the equilibrium position
Blessing Reply
an increased temperature increases the average kinetic energy thus in turn increases the number of effective collisions........
so...which reaction is favored between endothermic and exothermic .when temperature is increased..?
exothermic reaction because energy is realised to the surroundings as heat and light energy ....graphical so much energy is realised as reactants to form product and because temperature is high rate of reaction is fast which means there is a successful collision
an object will continue in a state of rest unless it is acted upon an unbalanced force
Junior Reply
Newton's Law 1
First Newton's Law
Newton's first law
newton first law
Newton's first law
when pressure is increased what happen to volume
Siphelo Reply
care to explain?
if pressure is applied to a pistol , the volume will decrease and particles will collide more frequently with the wall of a container .Each time they collide with the wall they exert a force on them .More collision means more force and the pressure will increase , that Boyle's Law
Because the volume has decreased , the particle will collide more frequently with the wall of a container and each time they collide with the wall of a container they exert a force on them.More collision means more force so the pressure will increase , that Boyle's Law
what is the difference between momentum and a change in momentum?
Chavonne Reply
How to name a branched molecule from right or left?
Vadin Reply
What's Free Fall
Senzo Reply
Free Fall means there is no acting force on that object.
only gravitational force
no external force acting on an object
by only force of gravite
but gravitational force
a motion in which the only force acting is gravitational force
and an object experiencing free fall is referred as a projectile
Do polymers form restrictedly only if compound is saturated, only?
milani Reply
what is a free fall?
Beyanca Reply
is when The Only Force acting On an Object is Gravitational Force
Thats right
then Why ask when you Know the answer?
She's just helping those who forgot it...bro
guys I need help on Getting ready for a last minute test
Kenelioe Reply
what help you need
we'll I'm in grade 12 so we doing this topic about upac thing
on What?
the organic molecule section
you should also look at structural isomers. Its crucial that they might add that one. also try and write down the structural formula of all the given compounds on the table
hi guys i can explain everything in terms of physics and chemistry
Neil Reply
guys 2mrrow I'm writing a test in chemistry I need help
Hi guys. Can anyone please tell me what a functional group is?
a functional group depends on how many bonds there are between carbon atoms, if there are single bonds all the way it's an alkane, if there is a presence of at least one double bond it's a Alkene and if there's at least one triple bond it's an alkyne.
which quantity is measured in Watt?
Saara Reply
explain for me absai
is Power Not Work work is Measured In Joules it has Energy
what's Newton's first law ?
an object moves at constant velocity or stationery unless disturbed by uneven force
what is galvanic cell ?
Oratile Reply
is an electrochemical cell that derives electrical energy from spontaneous redox reactions taking place within the cell.
how to understand alkane names
Sboniso Reply
suffix Ane in the IUPAC NAMING
elaborate a little more plz
Alkanes are Saturated Meaning they don't have Multiple Bonds between Carbon Atoms and When you are Naming THEM THEY MUST END WITH (-ANE ) GET ME?
What are hydrocarbons
Phelo Reply
are organic Compounds with only Carbon and Hydrogen Atoms

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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 12 physical science. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11244/1.2
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