Information about the Nickel Copper Alloy known as Monel

Monel is a trademark of Special Metals Corporation for a series of nickel alloys, primarily composed of nickel (up to 67%) and copper, with some iron and other trace elements. Monel was named after company president Ambrose Monell, and patented in 1906

Compared to steel, Monel is very difficult to machine as it work-hardens very quickly. It needs to be turned and worked at slow speeds and low feed rates. It is resistant to corrosion and acids, and some alloys can withstand a fire in pure oxygen. It is commonly used in applications with highly corrosive conditions. Small additions of aluminium and titanium form an alloy (K-500) with the same corrosion resistance but with much greater strength due to gamma prime formation on aging. Monel is typically much more expensive than stainless steel.

Monel's corrosion resistance makes it ideal for marine applications such as piping systems, pump shafts, seawater valves, trolling wire, and strainer baskets. Some alloys are completely non-magnetic and are used for anchor cable aboard minesweepers, housings for magnetic-field measurement equipment. In recreational boating, Monel wire is used to seize shackles for anchor rodes, Monel is used for water and fuel tanks, and for under water applications. It is also used for propeller shafts and for keel bolts.

However, because of the problem of electrolytic action in salt water (also known as Galvanic corrosion), in shipbuilding monel must be carefully insulated from other metals such as steel.

The New York Times of August 12, 1915 published an article about a 215 foot yacht, "the first ship that has ever been built with an entirely monel hull," that "went to pieces" in just six weeks and had to be scrapped, "on account of the disintegration of her bottom by electrical action." The yacht's steel skeleton deteriorated due to electrolytic interaction with the monel.

source Wikepedia July 2011

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