Materials in Today's World



In this lesson, we will discuss the wide range of commercial applications of ferrous alloys, which includes steel. However, ferrous alloys do have some limitations including having low electrical conductivity compared to other metals, being heavy, and corroding in typical application environments. In addition to the ferrous alloys in this lesson we will look at a range of other (non-ferrous) metal and alloy systems: copper, aluminum, magnesium, and titanium alloys; the refractory metals; the superalloys; the noble metals; and miscellaneous alloys, including those that have lead, tin, zirconium, and zinc as base metals. Many of these non-ferrous metals and alloys have advantages over the ferrous alloys for particular applications.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Name four different types of steels and cite compositional differences, distinctive properties, and typical uses for each.
  • State different types of nonferrous alloys.
  • List current and historical applications of nonferrous alloys.
  • Cite distinctive physical and mechanical characteristics of nonferrous alloys.

Lesson Roadmap

Lesson 6 will take us one week to complete. Please refer to Canvas for specific due dates.

Lesson Roadmap
To Read Pages 134 to 176 (Chapters 7 and 8) of Materials for Today's World, Custom Edition for Penn State University (custom e-book)
To Watch The Secrets of the Viking Sword
To Do Lesson 6 Quiz


If you have general questions about the course content or structure, please post them to the General Questions and Discussion forum in Canvas. If your question is of a more personal nature, feel free to send a message to all faculty and TAs through Canvas email. We will check daily to respond.