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STRUCTURE OF METALS AND NONMETALS

Crystalline-Metallic
CrystallineStructures :

Examples:

Body-Centered Cubic

Iron and Steels

Face-Centered Cubic

Austenitic Stainless Steels

Hexagonal Close Packed

Magnesium

CHARACTERISTICS OF METALS AND NONMETALS


Tensile Strength
Tensile strength refers to the maximum load that a material can withstand without rupturing.
2
Loads are normally expressed in MPa or lbs/in (psi).
Yield Strength
Yield Strength refers to the maximum load that a material can resist without permanent plastic
2
deformation. Loads are normally expressed in MPa or lbs/in (psi).
Ductility
Ductility refers to the ability of a material to deform plastically without fracturing. Ductility is
measured by elongation or reduction in area.
Toughness
Toughness refers to the ability of a material to absorb impact energy and deform plastically prior
to fracture. Toughness is measured by a notch impact test.
Low-temperature service is normally defined as design temperatures below -29.5 C (-20.5 F).
Hardness
Hardness refers to the ability of a material to resist penetration by an indenter. Hardness data are
sometimes used to estimate tensile strength.

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Body-Centered Cubic

Face-Centered Cubic

Hexagonal Close Packed


Figure 1. Crystalline-Metallic Structures

Nonmetallic Materials
In contrast to metallic materials, nonmetallic materials such as glass, plastics and elastomers
have a noncrystalline structure. The atoms making up these materials do not possess the
periodicity of a crystal, i.e., they have no long-range order.
Ceramics, which are also classified as nonmetallic materials, can exhibit a crystalline structure.
An example of a ceramic material is aluminum oxide (Al2O3).
Plastics
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) defines a plastic as a material that
contains as an essential ingredient an organic substance of large molecular weight, is solid in its
finished state, and at some stage in its manufacture or in its processing into finished articles can
be shaped by flow.
There are two types or classes of plastics:
Thermoplastics soften with increasing temperature and return to their original hardness when
cooled.
Thermosetters cannot be softened by heat and will char or burn as the temperature is increased.
Plastics do not corrode like metals. Among the types of plastic deterioration are loss in
mechanical properties, swelling, softening, hardening, and color change.
Elastomers
Elastomers, such as natural and synthetic rubbers, have good elastic, resilience, and flexibility
properties. Certain elastomers have good chemical and abrasion resistance and are used in
corrosive environments.
Principle uses for hard materials include:
Hoppers handling coke are lined or constructed of hard, erosion resistant materials to minimize
the abrasive action of coke fines.
Shafts for pumps, turbines, compressors and valve stems are made of materials hardened by heat
treatment.
Strength at Low or Elevated Temperatures
Examples of items of equipment include pressure vessels, heat exchangers, valves and items of
rotating machinery such as pumps, compressors and turbines.
Corrosion and Erosion Resistance

Heat treatments which increase hardness are often used to increase a materials erosion resistance.
In general, materials that exhibit high hardness are usually more erosion resistant than soft
materials.

Carbon and Low Alloys


Steels
Cast Irons
Cr-Mo Steels
Stainless Steels: Austenitic
Ferritic
Martensitic
Duplex
Nickel Alloys
Copper Alloys
Aluminum
Titanium

M-P

P-M

M-G

M-G

M-G

M-G

M-G

M-G

P-M

P-M

M-G

P-M

P-M

M-G

M-G

G = Good ; M = Moderate ; P = Poor

Figure 2. Characteristics of Engineering Materials

Characteristics of Plastics
Thermoplastics
Thermoplastics such as fluorocarbons (teflon, KEL-F), polyethylene, and polypropylene have
good resistance to many corrosive media, but limited service temperature range compared to
many metals. Uses include buried raw water piping and associated valves, valve seals and
gaskets, tape, valve diaphragms, and linings.
Elastomers
Elastomers such as Nitrile (Buna-N), Styrene-butadiene (Buna-S), Chloroprene (Neoprene),
Fluorocarbon (Viton), etc. have good resistance to many corrosive media. In the oil and
petrochemical industries they are used in the form of hose, tubing, seals, O-Rings, gaskets,
and occasionally tank linings. A significant limitation associated with these materials is that
they are not suitable for elevated temperature service. Neoprene, Buna-N, and Buna-S are
limited to temperatures below about 121 C (250 F). Viton, which is a fluoroelastomer can
be used at tempertures up to 260 C (500 F). Elastomers exhibit poor strength, and
consequently should never be used to fabricate pressure-retaining components, unless the
material is reinforced.
Thermosettin gPlastics
Thermosetting plastics such as epoxies, phenolics and polyesters are resistant to various
corrosive media and have relatively good mechanical properties. Fiber-reinforced plastics
(FRP) are thermosetting resins that are filled or reinforced with cloth, mat or chopped fibers.
FRP material is fiberglass reinforced epoxy. FRP materials are used for the fabrication of
underground storage tanks, pressure vessels, pipes, ducts, and small water or chemical injection
pumps.

Titanium
Titanium exhibits good strength-to-weight ratio, excellent corrosion resistance to brackish
water and certain very corrosive process media. Titanium uses include heat exchangers (all
components), and piping.

Carbon and Low-Alloy Steels


Cast Irons
Chromium-Molybdenum Steels
Stainless Steels
Nickel Alloys
Copper Alloys
Aluminum Alloys
Titanium

Plastics:
Thermoplastic

Thermosetting
Fiber-Reinforced Plastics
Elastomers

Figure 3. Principle Uses of Engineering Materials

Carbon and Low Alloy Steels


Carbon and low alloy steels exhibit good strength, ductility, and moderate corrosion
resistance. Carbon and low alloy steels are used extensively in pressure vessels, heat
exchangers, piping, pumps, storage tanks, and structural steel.
Cast Irons
Cast irons exhibit poor ductility but reasonable corrosion and erosion resistance in nonsaline
cooling water systems. Cast irons are used for certain pump casings, impellers, and valves.
Chromium-Molybdenu mSteels
Chromium-molybdenum steels exhibit good strength at elevated temperatures, good
resistance to hydrogen attack, and adequate sulfidation resistance at elevated temperatures.
Chromium-molybdenum steels are used for pressure vessels, heat exchangers, piping, and
furnace tubes.
Stainless Steels: Austenitic, Ferritic, Martensitic, Duplex
Stainless steels exhibit good strength at low and elevated temperatures, good corrosion
resistance to many media. Stainless steels are used for pressure vessels, heat exchangers,
piping, furnace tubes, pumps, instruments.
Nickel Alloys
Nickel alloys exhibit good strength, ductility at low temperatures, good corrosion resistance
for certain media. Nickel alloys are used for pressure vessels, heat exchangers, piping at low
temperatures, and in certain corrosive environments.
Copper Alloys
Copper alloys exhibit good corrosion resistance in cooling water service when kept clean.
Copper alloys have good thermal conductivity, but comparatively low strength, and limited
service temperature use. Applications for copper alloys include heat exchanger tubes,
tubesheets, pipes, valves, and pumps.
Aluminum
Aluminum is a lightweight material which exhibits limited corrosion resistance and has a
limited application temperature range. Aluminum is used in aircraft and as an external fin
material on air-cooled heat exchangers.

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GLOSSARY
atoms

The smallest particle of an element that can exist either


alone or in combination.

characteristics

A special quality found in a material.

corrosion resistance

The ability of a material to resist deterioration or degradation


due to the environment.

crystalline

Denotes a solid composed of atoms arranged in a pattern


which is repetitive in three dimensions. Most common metals
are crystalline.

ductility

The ability of a metal to deform plastically without fracturing,


as measured by elongation or reduction in area in a tensile test,
cupping height in an Erichsen test, or bend radius in a bend
test.

erosion resistance

The ability of a material to resist deterioration or degradation


due to the abrasive action of a moving stream.

hardness

That property which measures the ability of a material to resist


penetration by an indenter. Hardness data can sometimes be
related to the tensile strength of a metal.

structure

The regular or random arrangement of atoms in a material.

tensile strength

The ultimate strength of a material in tension.

toughness

The ability of a material to absorb energy and deform


plastically before fracturing, as measured by the energy
absorbed in a notch impact test.

yield strength

The strength at which a metal or alloy shows significant plastic


deformation.

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