Metallurgy is a domain of engineering and materials science that studies the structural and chemical behaviour of metallic elements and their associated compounds and alloys. Metallurgy also covers the process by which metals are separated from their mined ores.
Metallurgy, in practical terms, concerns itself with the technological application of metals, i.e. the way in which science is applied to the production of metals, and the engineering of metal components for use in consumer, commercial, and industrial products. The science of metallurgy is usually subdivided into chemical metallurgy and physical metallurgy.
Metallurgy is subdivided into ferrous metallurgy (also known as black metallurgy) and non-ferrous metallurgy (also known as coloured metallurgy). Ferrous metallurgy involves processes and alloys based on iron while non-ferrous metallurgy involves processes and alloys based on other metals.
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Expertise in Action
Metallurgy can be an important part of forensic engineering and failure analysis - investigating machinery, components and structures to determine which metals fail or do not function as intended, resulting in personal injury or property damage.
Experts in this field may be asked to investigate and comment on the causes of metal fatigue, stress, fractures, softening, brittleness, cracking, rusting, and other failure in accidents involving:
- Aircraft, rail and transport vehicles
- Machinery, tools, equipment and their components
- Civil engineering buildings, bridges and structures
Metallurgists can work in mines, mineral processing plants, and government and commercial research laboratories. They normally work with other related professions: mining and construction engineers, geologists, mineralogists, technicians and tradespeople.
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The overall cost of expert opinion depends on the services required. Some of the key factors that affect the cost of advice include:
- The need for a view or inspection of a location
- The quantity of documentary material to be reviewed
- Whether there are reports of other experts to be reviewed and commented on in detail
- Whether there is a need for conferences with the expert either in person or by telephone/Skype