An alloy is a homogeneous mixture of two elements, with one being a metal (solid).
For example— Gold, as used in jewellery is usually a mixture of gold, silver and
some other metals. When these metals are melted and mixed up, they form
alloys. A sample of the new gold alloy will have the same chemical make-up as
any other sample of that new gold alloy.
The diagram above shows an example of how atoms are arranged in an alloy.
Atomic arrangement in alloys are very irregular and different in sizes, making it
harder for its layers to slide over each other.
Stainless steel behaves in a similar way. It is also a mixture of Iron, Chromium
and Nickel. These metals mix up perfectly to become alloys too.
Why are metals mixed into alloys?
The advantage of this mixture is that, the alloy tends to have better qualities
than the original. For example, an alloy of gold would have better properties in
terms of its strength and lustre that the unmixed gold.
Common types of alloys.
Amalgam is one common alloy. It is used often by dentists to fill cavities in teeth.
The main metal in amalgam is mercury.
Brass is also an alloy, with copper and zinc as its main metals. Brass is usually used
for door hinges and electrical plugs.