Froes, F. H. Sam Institute for Materials and Advanced Processes, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho.
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A materials-processing method that involves the repeated welding, fracturing, and rewelding of a mixture of powder particles, generally in a high-energy ball mill, to produce a controlled, extremely fine microstructure. The mechanical alloying technique allows alloying of elements that are difficult or impossible to combine by conventional melting methods. In general, the process can be viewed as a means of assembling metal constituents with a controlled microstructure. If two metals will form a solid solution, mechanical alloying can be used to achieve this state without the need for a high-temperature excursion. Conversely, if the two metals are insoluble in the liquid or solid state, an extremely fine dispersion of one of the metals in the other can be accomplished. The process of mechanical alloying was originally developed as a means of overcoming the disadvantages associated with using powder metallurgy to alloy elements that are difficult to combine. Using powder metallurgy, homogeneity is dictated by the size of the particle, but contamination and fire hazards become a concern when particle size is very small. See also: Powder metallurgy; Solid solution
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