Uranium in Non-Ferrous Metals

CIM Bulletin, 1963


The use of uranium metal in nonferrous metallurgical practice is discussed with reference to its alloying behaviour and chemical activity. It is suggested that the more promising applications are in the treatment of molten metals to combine with impurities. Mines Branch work along these lines is described for copper, zinc, magnesium, aluminum and nickel alloys. It is shown that a copper- uranium master alloy (25 per cent U) successfully deoxidizes molten copper without detriment to the electrical or mechanical properties of the product at residual uranium levels of up to 0.8 wt. per cent. Additions of uranium to alpha brass in amounts greater than the lead impurity content were found to remove the deleterious effect of lead on hotworkability. Similar deoxidizing and malleableizing effects were found with uranium additions to nickel. It is thought that uranium forms stable intermetallic compounds with many impurity elements. A significant malleableizing effect can therefore be expected in the presence of other elements besides lead. The effects of uranium on hot dip galvanizing and on grain refinement in magnesium and aluminum alloys have been evaluated briefly, but without any beneficial effects being noted .
Keywords: Uses of Depleted Uranium, Copper Alloys, Nickel Company of Canada, Cr Nil Eutectic, zinc