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Understanding the Melting Points of Metal


Time to Read: 2m 44s

Understanding the Melting Points of Metal

Since they can withstand extremely high and low temperature points, metal materials are commonly utilized for a wide range of industrial applications throughout the world. Whether it’s combustion motors, furnaces, exhaust systems, or any other type of structure that is subjected to extreme temperatures, it is important to choose a metal that can support the application’s temperature range.

What is a Melting Point?

A metal’s melting point can be described as the moment the metal transitions from a solid phase into a liquid phase. When a metal achieves its exact melting point the solid and liquid phase of the metal exist in equilibrium. Once the metal passes its melting point the metal will be reduced to liquid until it is cooled, solidifying once again.

The Importance of Understanding a Metal’s Melting Point

Fully understanding a metal’s melting point is extremely important when deciding on which metal alloy is right for your project. The most important consideration in choosing the appropriate metal for your application is component failure. If a specific metal liquifies below the maximum temperature range of its application, the part will fail, resulting in costly repairs and safety concerns.

Besides complete liquification, other types of metal failure can result when approaching a metal’s melting point. Metal failures such as creep-induced fractures may occur well before the melting temperature is reached. Research should be done on the effect of the various temperatures to which a metal will be subjected before starting a project.

Manufacturing Processes and Metal Melting Points

When performing a manufacturing process that requires a metal to be liquified, it is important to know the temperature at which the melting will begin so that the appropriate materials for the equipment being used can be selected. Since metals are most formable when they are liquid, it is extremely important to understand the melting point of your metal or alloy metal. Manufacturing processes that require a metal to be in liquid form include:
  • Casting
  • Fusion Welding
  • Smelting

Metal & Metal Alloy Melting Points

It can be frustrating when a metal is chosen for its beneficial properties, only to find out that it can’t withstand the application’s maximum temperature output. For this reason, it is vitally important to understand the melting points of the metals used within a project before it begins. It is important to remember that alloys, which contain more than one element, have a melting point temperature range that is dependent on the overall alloy composition. The following list incorporates various common metals and their corresponding melting points.
 
Metal Melting Point
Carbon Steel 1425-1540°C (2597-2800°F)
Stainless Steel 1375 – 1530°C (2500-2785°F)
Aluminum 660°C (1220°F)
Copper 1084°C (1983°F)
Brass 930°C (1710°F)
Inconel 1390-1425°C (2540-2600°F)
Nickel 1453°C (2647°F)
Molybdenum 2620°C (4748°F)
Silver 961°C (1762°F)
Titanium 1670°C (3038°F)
Tungsten 3400°C (6152°F)
Zinc 420°C (787°F)
 

Which Metals Provide the Highest and Lowest Melting Points

Some of the most common metals with the highest melting points include nickel and tungsten, both of which melt at very high temperatures. nickel melts around 1,452°C (2,646°F), while tungsten melts around 3,399°C (6,150°F). The metals with the lowest melting points include lead 327°C (621°F) and zinc 420°C (787°F).

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