- noun a metal made from a compound of two or more metallic elements, e.g. brass
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- A homogeneous mixture of two or more metals developed and used because of its lower cost and/or the certain desirable properties it exhibits.
- A mixture of two or more elements, one of which must be a metal, to form a macroscopically homogeneous metallic product. Alloys may be solids or liquids, and are usually created to better adapt the constituents for a particular purpose. Alloys are used extensively in electronics. For example, niobium alloys are used as low temperature superconductors.
Origin & History of “alloy”
The notion of ‘mixing’ in alloy originated in the idea of ‘binding’ in Latin ligāre ‘tie’ (source of English ligament, ligature, and lien – via Old French loien from Latin ligāmen ‘bond’). Addition of the prefix ad- gave alligāre ‘bind one thing to another’, hence ‘combine’. this passed into Old French as aleier, where it eventually became aloier – hence English alloy.