To travel safely overseas, ships must be sturdy, strong, and corrosion resistant. Today, manufacturers use only the highest-quality metals to create ships and other seaworthy vessels. Some manufacturers use pure metals for specific parts, but the majority use metal alloys, which are mixtures of metals. Alloys have unique properties that pure metals do not possess. Discover some of the most common metals usedin the modern marine industry.
Since seawater is highly corrosive, ships must use metals that have corrosion resistance properties to prevent rust and decay. Stainless steel is a metal alloy that manufacturers use for its impressive strength, durability, and corrosion resistance. It’s an affordable, reliable alloy to use for all kinds of ship parts, from the hull to the engine and other components.
Aluminum alloys also have high corrosion resistance. However, corrosion resistance isn’t the main property that manufacturers seek from aluminum—the reason why aluminum is a common metal in the marine industry is its light weight. In addition, aluminum also has excellent machineability, meaning it changes shape without cracking or weakening. Because of this property, aluminum is a wise choice for complex parts or specific shapes.
Manufacturers combine aluminum with other metals to create alloys that are lightweight yet strong, durable, and corrosion resistant. One common aluminum alloy is aluminum bronze, which has many applications and uses in the marine industry.
Copper is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, so you’ll often find it in the electrical equipment on a ship. Due to its gorgeous reddish-gold shine, some manufacturers use copper to add decorative elements to a ship’s design. Additionally, copper is antimicrobial, meaning that bacteria and other microbes cannot live on its surface. Because of this property, copper is often used for rails, door handles, latches, and other features on a ship that people touch frequently.