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Chemistry Learner
It's all about Chemistry


by Prasenjit Banerjee on December 26, 2011 in Materials chemistry

Table Of Contents
Stellite Identi cation
Stellite Composition
Stellite Chemical Formula
Types of Stellite
Stellite Properties
Stellite Uses
Stellite MSDS
Harmful effects of Stellite Usage in Nuclear power plants


Stellite alloys are a group or a range of cobalt-chromium alloys. They are designed to be
resistant to wear and corrosion. These alloys may also have some portions of tungsten
or molybdenum and some small but critical amounts of carbon. Stellite is a trademarked
name of Deloro Stellite Company supplying Stellite alloys like Stellite3, Stellite 6,
Stellite 12 and Stellite 21. Deloro Stellite Company also supplies other products like
casting,machinery, welding, coating, knives and many others.The alloy was invented in
the early 1900s by American metallurgist Elwood Haynes as a proper substitute for
easily staining silverware.




Stellite Identi cation

The CAS Registry Number for Stellite alloys is 12638-07-2.

Stellite Composition
There are many types of Stellite alloys composed of varying quantities of cobalt,
chromium, molybdenum, tungsten, iron, nickel, boron, aluminum, carbon, manganese,
phosphorus, silicon, titanium and sulfur in different proportions. Most Stellite alloy
compositions contain at least four to six of the listed elements.

Picture 1 Stellite alloy

Stellite Chemical Formula

Stellite alloys do not have any speci c chemical formula as various types of alloys are
formed by combining a number of elements in different proportions. The various types
of Stellite alloys are represented by using numbers, such as Stellite 1, Stellite 6K and
Stellite 706.

Types of Stellite
A special form of Stellite known as Talonite is manufactured by hot-rolling and
hardening a speci c alloy combination. Talonite combines the properties of hardness,
machinability and wear resistance. It is important to note that not all types of Stellite
alloys can be processed to create Talonite.





Stellite Properties
Stellite alloys are non-magnetic alloys which are highly resistant to corrosion. A range
of different alloy compositions are prepared by combining different elements in varying
proportions and the properties of an individual alloy composition might vary from an
alloy of a different composition. Different alloy compositions are used for different
purposes and valued for their functional exibility. The alloy Stellite 100 is mostly used
nowadays for cutting tools as it is very hard and is capable of maintaining a great
cutting edge even when exposed to high temperatures. The alloy is also resistant to
processes such as hardening and annealing that might result from excessive heat. Other
Stellite alloys are manufactured to combine the properties of corrosion resistance, wear
resistance and the ability to tolerate extreme temperatures.
Stellite alloys can be characterized as having great hardness and toughness. They are
also normally highly resistant to corrosion. The extreme harness of these alloys
frequently makes it dif cult to work with them and so anything made from these alloys
are normally very expensive. Usually, Stellite parts are precisely cast to avoid any need
of further excessive machining. Stellite alloys are more frequently machined by grinding
instead of cutting. These alloys usually have very high melting points resulting from the
combined content of cobalt and chromium.

Stellite Uses
The various uses of Stellite alloys are discussed below:
Stellite alloys are used in the process of hardfacing.
They are also applied in the manufacturing of saw teeth and acid-resistant machine
The invention of Stellite alloys greatly improvised the manufacturing of poppet
valves as well as the valve seats for valves. These alloys revolutionized the exhaust
valves of internal combustion engines. The interval between maintenance of the
valves and re-grinding of the valve seats was lengthened to a signi cant degree by
reducing the erosion of the valves from hot gases.
The rst third of M60 machine gun barrels (starting from the chamber) and the
M2HB machine gun are lined with Stellite. Stellite alloys were also used to make the
shoulders and locking lugs of Voere Titan II ri es.
Stellite alloys are also frequently used to make the cast structure used for dental
During early 1980s, experiments were conducted in United Kingdom to see if
precision-cast Stellite alloys could be used to create arti cial hip joints as well as
other bone replacements.




Stellite alloys have been used to manufacture turning tools for lathes. Stellite alloys
have greater cutting abilities compared to carbon steel tools as well as some high
speed steel tools. They are especially capable of cutting dif cult materials like
stainless steel. Improvements in tipped tools over the years have greatly reduced
the use of Stellite alloys in lathes.

Stellite MSDS
Stellite Reactivity
Stellite alloys are normally very stable materials. However, they can react with oxidizing
agents and mineral acids to form explosive hydrogen gas which can cause re hazards.

Toxicological Properties
Under normal circumstances, handling of Stellite alloys hardly poses any risk of health
hazards. However, machining or welding with these alloys can produce dust, fumes and
small particles of component alloy elements. These particles can pose a serious threat
to human health when they enter the body in excess of maximum exposure limits.

Health Hazards
Inhalation: Inhaling particles of Stellite alloy generated from grinding, welding or
similar processes can cause asthma and metal ume fever. Component materials like
boron, chromium, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, nickel and vanadium are
respiratory irritants.
Ingestion: Stellite particles normally do not enter the human body through ingestion.
However in some cases a persons hands, clothing or foods and drinks can get
contaminated with dusts from Stellite alloy materials and the particles may enter the
body through activities such as smoking, eating, drinking and nail biting. Ingesting
Stellite particles can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal pain.
Skin: Irritation, sensitization or allergic dermatitis can occur from the some of the
components of Stellite alloys. When the skin comes in contact with vanadium, copper
and nickel, it may result in dermatitis. Exposure of the skin to cobalt might cause
allergic skin reactions and dermatitis. Skin exposed to manganese might suffer from
excessive sweating. Vanadium and boron exposure causes skin irritation.
Eyes: If the eyes get contaminated by coming in contact with soiled ngers or airborne
particles, it might result in irritation or abrasion of the eyes. Particles of Stellite
materials can cause irritation of the eyes resulting from mechanical abrasion. Severe
allergic conjunctivitis and eye irritation might result when dusts of cobalt enter the




eyes. Irritation may also be caused by dusts of copper.

Chronic health effects

Chronic health effects resulting from Stellite alloys are dif cult to detect as these alloys
are made up of several elements. Effects of chronic inhalation include pulmonary
brosis, chronic obstructive lung disease, rhinitis and bronchitis. Chronic occupational
exposure to dusts of cobalt results in goiter, bloody urine and polycythemia.

Some elements of Stellite alloys have been recognized as carcinogenic substances by
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Exposure to nickel and nickel
compounds, cobalt and cobalt compounds and hexavalent chromium can greatly
increase the risk of cancer among workers dealing with these alloys.

Medical Symptoms Aggravated By Exposure


Individuals already having sensitivity to certain elements and are prone to develop
allergic reactions to metals like nickel, copper, chrome and cobalt might possibly
encounter dermatitis and skin rashes. Persons already suffering from impaired
pulmonary function can develop airway diseases and health conditions such as
emphysema, asthma and chronic bronchitis, etc. when excessive concentrations of alloy
fumes or dusts are inhaled. If any of these health conditions are already present, the
inhalation of Stellite alloy particles can aggravate the symptoms. If a person is already
suffering from prior damages to the Circulatory, Neurologic (nervous), Renal (kidney) or
Hematogic (blood) systems, proper examinations or screening should be conducted for
appropriate diagnosis of these patients. They should also be prohibited from entering
areas contaminated by dusts of Stellite alloys.

Preventative Measures




Ventilation: The area should be well ventilated to minimize contamination of dust,

fume and particles. Air exposure of materials should be kept below the recommended
limits of exposure.
Respiratory: If the room is not properly ventilated and the exposure levels of alloy dust
is not maintained below the exposure limits, adequate respiratory protection needs to
be used by the working personnel. The respirators should be NIOSH-approved and have
a proper air purifying lter.
Skin: Rubber or leather gloves should be used while dealing with Stellite alloys to avoid
skin contact and for preventing metal abrasions and cuts. Unnecessary and risky skin
contact can be easily avoided by using protective coveralls.
Eye: Safety goggles or glasses should be worn while entering a contaminated area.

First Aid Measures

Inhalation: The victim suffering from breathing dif culty due to inhalation of dust
particles and fumes should be removed to an area of fresh air. A physician needs to be
consulted if the breathing still does not improve.
Ingestion: The victim should drink plenty of water and try to vomit. A doctor should be
consulted for ensuring further safety.
Skin: The infected area should be washed nicely with plenty of water. The victim should
take a shower if possible. Contaminated clothing should be removed. Medical attention
is required if irritation of skin persists.
Eye: The eyes should be washed well with ample amounts of water. A doctor needs to be
consulted if eye irritation persists. While working with powders and dusts of Stellite
alloys, a person should not wear contact lenses.

Recommended Monitoring Procedures

Environmental Surveillance: Air samples should be taken from the industrial working
area for regularly checking the levels of air contamination.
Medical Surveillance: The workers should regularly go through a thorough health
check up. Tests like chest x-rays, lung tests and routine physical examinations should be
conducted on regular intervals to ensure safety of the workers.
Waste Disposal: Wastes of Stellite alloys should be disposed of by following the
relevant Local, Provincial and Federal regulations regarding waste management.