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The use of metals and alloys depends upon a unique set of properties which best satisfy specific conditions of end-use. The critical properties involved are usually a combination of several independent ones such as cost, availability, ease of fabrication, and last, but most important, physical or chemical properties such as strength, electrical conductivity, magnetic characteristics, or corrosion resistance. These latter properties are often structure-sensitive; that is, the physical or chemical properties are controllable by changing the atomic or the micrographic structure of the material. By atomic structure is meant the arrangement of the atoms, and by micrographic structures is meant the arrangement of the crystals, the phases, and the components.
Manager, General Electric Research Lab., Schenectady, N. Y.