Metallurgy can be divided into three main categories:

Physical Metallurgy: is the study of structure and physical properties of metals and alloys. It involves many processes used to convert a refined metal into a finished product. Most metals are not useful in their pure form. They must be made into alloys, or mixtures of a metal and one or more other elements. Steel is an example of an alloy. It is made from iron and small amounts of carbon and other elements.

Physical metallurgical engineers also develop production processes that include melting, casting, alloying, rolling, and welding. They design and supervise the processes that produce such goods as structural steel, wire, or sheets of aluminum. Sometimes they are involved in processes that use these metal goods in the manufacture of other finished products.

Extractive Metallurgy: concerned with the process of removing metal from ore. Ores are mixtures of metals and other substances. Once the ore has been mined, many steps are needed to extract the metal and refine it to a relatively pure form.

Mineral Processing: involves gathering mineral products from the earth’s crust.

Metallurgical Engineering students, learn the fundamentals of all three fields, as well as the basics of engineering in general. Metals make up important parts of cars, bikes, planes, buildings, even toothpaste tubes. Knowledge of the production, design, and manufacturing of these metals and mineral products can be rewarding and exciting.