metallurgy mĕt´əlûr˝jē [key], science and technology of metals and their alloys. Modern metallurgical research is concerned with the preparation of radioactive metals, with obtaining metals economically from low-grade ores, with obtaining and refining rare metals hitherto not used, and with the formulation of alloys. Powder metallurgy deals with the manufacture of ferrous and nonferrous parts by compacting elemental metal or alloy powders in a die. The resultant shapes are then heated in a controlled-atmosphere furnace to bond the particles so that the part will retain the shape at normal temperatures and pressures. Welding and soldering (see solder) are techniques for joining metals metallurgically. Extractive metallurgy is the study and practice of separating metals from their ores and refining them to produce a pure metal. This article discusses the extraction of metals in general terms, but methods for the treatment of ores are quite diverse; see also aluminum, copper, gold, iron, lead, nickel, silver, tin, and zinc for special procedures followed.

Sections in this article:

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Metallurgy and Mining: Terms and Concepts