Metals training pdf
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Metals training pdf Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Metals Conserving Museum Objects Sarah Morton ACR Business Unit Manager & Objects Conservator Oxfordshire Museums Service
  • 2. Iron (Fe) Pure iron is a silvery white, relatively soft metal, it has a strong tendency to oxidise so is alloyed with other elements (usually carbon). Naturally occurring iron ore is smelted to produce solid metallic iron. Heating with a carbon containing fuel reduces the iron oxides back to metal. Wrought iron is a fairly pure iron that contains glassy inclusions of slag and has a fibrous structure. Steel refers to iron alloyed with carbon, usually less than 2 wt%. The addition of carbon increases hardness and strength. Cast iron refers to iron alloyed with carbon usually at 2-4 wt% and 1-3 wt% silicon. Other elements are added to alter specific properties.
  • 3. Copper (Cu) Pure copper is light red-pink and is ductile and malleable. It is non-magnetic and can be easily soldered. Copper is found naturally in the metallic state Pure copper is soft so is often alloyed with other elements to make it harder. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, gunmetal contains zinc and tin. Lead can be added to an alloy to improve machinability.
  • 4. Gold (Au) Gold is a precious metal and naturally occurs in a relatively pure form. It is soft, easy to work and does not tarnish under most conditions. To make gold harder and more useful it is commonly alloyed with copper and silver. Gold alloys vary in colour depending on the amount of each element. Gold can be applied as a thin layer to the surface of another material, this process is called gilding. Many countries make it a legal requirements the gold and gold alloys are identified by a small stamp. This practice of hallmarking was established in England in 1300.
  • 5. Silver (Ag) Pure silver is white in colour but is highly sensitive to tarnishing by sulphur containing gases. Pure silver is soft, ductile, malleable and easily scratched. It is often alloyed with copper to make is harder and more useful. As with gold many countries make it legal requirement for silver alloys to be hallmarked. Sterling silver was introduced in Britain in 1238 with a specification it should not contain less than 92.5 wt% silver and is still used around the world as a silver standard. A thin layer of silver can be used to plate other metals. Fused plate (known as Sheffield plate) was delveloped in the 1740s but was replaced by electroplating in the mid C19th.
  • 6. Lead (Pb) Lead is the heaviest common metal. Bluish grey in colour it is non-magnetic and very soft. Lead has a low melting point and is often alloyed with other metals to make low-melting alloys that are easy to cast. Lead-tin alloys were widely used for soldering other metals together. Many lead compounds are intensely coloured and have been used as pigments in paint. Because of environmental and health hazards lead is much less widely used today.
  • 7. Tin (Sn) Tin in its pure form is silvery white in colour, non-magnetic, soft and malleable. Tin can be easily rolled and cold-worked but is too soft for most uses so is commonly alloyed with other metals. One of the most common being the lead-tin alloy pewter (lead is replaced by antimony in modern pewter). Tin can also used to plate copper alloys and copper cooking vessels were often tinned to prevent food being tainted with copper. Iron can also be tin plated, originally achieved by wiping or hot dipping modern tin plate is produced by electroplating.
  • 8. Zinc (Zn) Zinc is a non-magnetic, bluish-white metal. Zinc ores are difficult to smelt and the metallic properties of zinc were not recognised until the C17th. Zinc has a low strength and is subject to creep. Zinc-aluminium alloys are used for die-casting and zinc-copper alloys for modern roofing. Zinc can be used to galvanise iron or steel to protect it from rusting (because the zinc corrodes preferentially).
  • 9. Nickel (Ni) Nickel is a hard, corrosion-resistant, silvery white metal. It can be polished to a bright finish and is often alloyed with other metals. The element nickel was discovered in 1751 and is usually recovered from nickel sulphide ores. Nickel has often been used for coins due to it’s corrosion resistance. Nickel silvers are copper rich alloys that contain nickel and zinc. They do not contain any silver but could be electroplated with silver (EPNS). Monel metals are also nickel copper alloys. Stainless steels are iron based alloys to which various amounts of nickel and chromium have been added. Electroplating of nickel onto other metals has been carried out since the 1870s.
  • 10. Aluminium (Al) Pure aluminium is a highly reflective, silvery-white metal that is light and can be easily formed, machined and cast. Its corrosion products formed are colourless or white and form a protective oxide film that renders it resistant to further corrosion. Aluminium is found as an ore, the principle ore being bauxite. Pure aluminium was isolated in 1872 but not widely used till 1886 when the electrolytic process made producing aluminium easier and more affordable. Aluminium has a wide range of uses and small quantities of various elements can be added to produce alloys with special properties. Aluminium can be used to plate iron to produce aluminized steel commonly used in roofing.
  • 11. Corrosion When a metal reacts with its environment the compounds that form as a result of the process are known as corrosion products. Corrosion on metal objects may be valued for its colour, beauty or stability. It may also mask the objects intended surface or even weaken the objects physical structure. We must determine if the corrosion is desirable, undesirable or dangerous.
  • 12. IMMUNE: Metal does not react with electrolyte and there is no corrosion. Metal is said to be stable. ACTIVE: Metal reacts with environment and corrosion products are soluble enough to diffuse away from surface. PASSIVE: Metal has reacted with the environment and the corrosion products have formed a protective film on the surface reducing the corrosion rate.
  • 13. Thank You www.museumsocc.org.uk Tel: 01865300972 museums.resource.centre@oxfordshire.gov.uk @oxonmuseum