ETYM Old Eng. alai, Old Fren. alei, French aloyer, to alloy, alier to ally. Related to Alloy.
Metal blended with some other metallic or nonmetallic substance to give it special qualities, such as resistance to corrosion, greater hardness, or tensile strength. Useful alloys include bronze, brass, cupronickel, duralumin, German silver, gunmetal, pewter, solder, steel, and stainless steel.
Among the oldest alloys is bronze, the widespread use of which ushered in the Bronze Age. Complex alloys are now common; for example, in dentistry, where a cheaper alternative to gold is made of chromium, cobalt, molybdenum, and titanium. Among the most recent alloys are superplastics: alloys that can stretch to double their length at specific temperatures, permitting, for example, their injection into molds as easily as plastic.
A mixture of two or more metals or of metallic and nonmetallic elements usually fused together or dissolving into each other when molten.