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Metal Alloys

pweter bottallack dinner service

An alloy is two or more metals mixed together.

Most of the metallic objects we use everyday are mixtures of metals called alloys. A mixture of two or more elements, where at least one element is a metal is called an alloy. Alloys have properties which are different from the elements they are made up of, such as greater strength because Alloys contain atoms of different sizes, which distort the regular arrangements of atoms. This makes it more difficult for the layers to slide over each other, so alloys are harder  and stronger than the pure metal.

TIN+COPPER = BRONZE

TIN+LEAD = PEWTER

COPPER+ZINC = BRASS

 

Botallack dinner service

Made from Pewter.

In 1843 a dinner service of over one hundred pieces was made for the monthly Investor’s dinners at Botallack Mine, stamped ‘BM’. This was made from pewter with small amounts of the metal antimony added, to make the metal harder.   The dinner service was used in the count house of Botallack until 1895.  The dinner service was commissioned by the Purser of Botallack, Stephen Harvey James, to stimulate the demand for tin.  The service was so clean and shiny that it was often mistaken for silver. At that time the price of tin was very low so the pewter service was cheap - similar in price to a china or porcelain dinner service.

Semi Metals

Semi Metals are brittle minerals with lower electrical and thermal conductivity than pure metals. The three semi metals are; Arsenic, Antimony and Bismuth.

 

Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of the Geevor Archive

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