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Metallurgy is the study of metals. Alloys (mixtures of metals) are also studied. People who study or work with metals are called metallurgists.


Ores are rocks that have a chemical compound of a metal with oxygen, called an oxide. Separating the oxygen from the metal is called smelting. This is done with chemistry or electricity, usually at very high temperatures. This is the first step in metallurgy. A rock containing enough metal to be profitable is called ore.

Metal parts

Another part of metallurgy is making parts from metals. These parts must be made so they will not break when they are used. Metallurgists work to make the metal good when they are used. Sometimes the metal must be strong. Other times it must be tough (not easily broken). The metallurgist must follow directions when making the part to know what metal to use. Steel has a low cost, but rusts. Choosing a good metal is sometimes hard.

A metal starts as a block, called an ingot. Metallurgists must know how to make a metal part from an ingot. Parts are made from ingots different ways. When a big hammer is used, it is called forging. To make thin metals, a metal is put between two rolls and moved, called rolling.

Making metal hot makes it easier to change the shape of a metal part. For this reason, most metal parts are made using hot metal. This is hot work.

Two metal parts can be put together with much heat. This is called welding. Iron is easy to weld.


Metallurgists use many tools to know what to do to the metal. The most useful is the microscope. The microscope gives much information about the way the metal moves. Metals are sometimes pulled until they break. This is the tension test. Some useful information can be gotten from this test.