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A metallurgist is an engineer concerned with the physical and chemical behaviour of metals. They work with a wide range of products including non-ferrous metals, precious metals, copper sheet/wire, iron, steel, zinc, copper and aluminium alloys.

Metallurgists may specialise in chemical, physical or process metallurgy.

A chemical or extraction metallurgist is concerned with getting useful metals out of ores, the purification and alloying process and they may also be engaged with developing new metals that can be applied to a range of engineering problems.

A physical metallurgist studies the chemical and physical properties of metal, looking at things which stress metal such as corrosion, fatigue and temperature changes.

Process metallurgists join and shape metals and they will select the best metal for the job.

An archaeological metallurgist is the specialist name for an archaeology expert involved in ancient metals analysis. Field archaeologists often consult a metallurgical specialist either on the digging site or later when assessing the evidence. The three main stages when a metallurgist in employed are excavation preparation and planning, on-site excavation and assessment and analysis.

Metallurgists frequently spend a lot of time in the lab, studying the metals they are working with and conducting experiments. Industries a metallurgists may be employed in include the automobile industry, private consulting firms, government departments, forensic investigations into incidents such as bridge failures, to policy recommendations designed to standardise metal products.

Salaries start at around £20,000 a year to over £50,000 with more experience.

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