For as long as civilization has existed, people have been using nickel alloys. Indeed, scientists have analyzed artifacts from thousands of years ago and found pipes, tools, coins and weapons comprised of varying amounts of nickel and other metals.
And the ancients were onto something: nickel alloys have advantages that allowed them to build structures that helped them not only survive, but thrive.
These beneficial characteristics are still being taken advantage of today–by engineers, by scientists, and in our field, by alloy pipe distributors and builders.
Here are some of those advantages that make nickel alloys such useful materials to build with:
Some nickel alloys can endure extreme conditions and high temperatures. For example, nickel-chromium alloys that are comprised of over 15% chromium have been used at temperatures that can exceed 760 celsius. This ability to withstand heat makes nickel alloy pipe a go-to material in machines or structures that produce extreme temperatures.
When metals encounter oxygen, they can undergo oxidation reactions. This, in turn, causes corrosion.
Nickel, however, has a slow rate of oxidation, making nickel alloys more resistant to corrosion than most metals. This allows them to maintain their integrity for longer than other metals, especially in marine environments where corrosion is particularly problematic.
Some nickel-iron alloys have an extremely low rate of thermal expansion or a very consistent and predictable pattern of expansion in specific temperature ranges. This makes them useful when you need a pipe that can maintain a uniform shape and size despite hot environments.
For example, Iron-36% nickel alloy almost doesn’t expand at all during moderate changes in temperatures. And when you add cobalt to the nickel and iron, you get a high-strength alloy that has a constant modulus of elasticity and a low coefficient of expansion.
Sometimes, a metallic material is needed that can return to its previous shape when it experiences heat. This type of material is called a shape memory alloy, and there are very few available on the market. Some nickel alloys, however, have this characteristic, with nickel-titanium alloys being one of the most prominent shape memory alloys.
Nickel-iron alloys also have unique and interesting magnetic permeability characteristics. This has allowed them to become an integral component in designs for switchgear as well as direct current motors and generators.
These advantages have made nickel alloys a popular material in a number of applications, including:
• The petrochemical industry
• Aircraft turbines
• Medical engineering
• Steam turbine power plants
• Nuclear power plants
Do you need nickel alloy pipes for your next project? As a leading alloy pipe distributor, we offer a wide inventory at competitive prices, so contact us for a quote today.