Friday, 19th April 2019


Metallurgy is a branch of materials science that focuses on the properties and behaviour of different metals and alloys, including iron, steel, aluminium, nickel and copper. Metallurgists can specialise in different areas of metallurgy but, generally, they study the performance of different metals and the ways in which they can be put to use.

Different areas of metallurgy include:

  • Chemical - chemical metallurgists work in the extraction of metals from ores, the examination of the processes of corrosion and wear and the safety testing of metals
  • Physical - physical metallurgists study how the different metals reacts under stress and usage, studying how metals change due to temperature or pressure
  • Process - process metallurgists work out how to mould and join metals, creating different structures or components using welding techniques and technology

Metallurgists are concerned with the properties of different metals so that they can decide how metals can be used for large industrial structures, or in the tiny, precise components of a machine. A lot of metallurgists work in research and development, but they can also be employed in the design and manufacturing sectors.

Whilst individual tasks are specific to their specialisms, there are some tasks that are performed across all areas of the profession, including:

  • Collecting and analysing samples in a laboratory setting
  • Undertaking product research
  • Investigating the process of corrosion and metal failure
  • Creating and developing designs and prototypes
  • Doing structural analysis using specialist computer software
  • Writing reports and manuals
  • Researching and developing repair technology
  • Overseeing quality control processes
  • Liaising with clients and manufacturers

Typical employers of metallurgists include research institutions, metal producers, consultancies and the Ministry of Defence. Manufacturers of iron and steel are fairly concentrated in certain areas of the UK and other metal producers are found across the UK.