Alloys are mixtures of a metal with other elements, the precise combination being governed by the required properties. Alloys are generally considered to be metallic in nature (i.e. they have good thermal and electrical conductivities). Alloys can be manufactured by various routes, the most widely used being to melt the constituents together and to cool the resultant mixture to form a single or multi-phase solid.
Ceramics are non-organic, non-metallic materials which show excellent resistance to high temperatures, abrasives and chemicals. They have comparatively low densities and are extremely hard. The nature of their structure means that some show poor shock resistance.
Composites comprise a range of materials which provide improved mechanical properties when compared to their base counterparts (e.g. strength, stiffness, thermal conductivity, abrasion resistance, creep resistance or dimensional stability). There are two classes, namely a resin-matrix Composite and a Metal Matrix Composite; in both cases, the improved performance of the materials is achieved by the addition of carbon, metallic or intermetallic compounds.
Compounds, more correctly referred to as chemical compounds, are reaction products composed of two or more elements in definite proportions by weight and, as such, their composition is independent of their manner of preparation. The chemical compounds which Goodfellow supplies are all inorganic materials.
Goodfellow supplies a wide range of aluminides, borides, silicides and other intermetallics to special order. These are normally available in the form of powders, granules or ingot but some compositions may be produced in other forms e.g. sheet or sputtering target.
A metal is generally considered to be a pure element which readily forms cations. Metals are characterised by their opacity and high thermal and electrical conductivities, the latter properties resulting from the delocalised and mobile nature of the electrons over the crystal structure.
A carbon based material which is built up from a series of smaller units (monomers). The choice of the monomers and the final molecular weight (i.e. size) of the polymer govern the mechanical and physical properties of the resultant polymer.