Ask Difference

Alloy vs. Intermetallic Compound — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Published on November 16, 2023
An Alloy is a mixture of metals or a metal and another element, while an Intermetallic Compound is a solid-state compound of two or more metals with a defined stoichiometry.
Alloy vs. Intermetallic Compound — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Alloy and Intermetallic Compound


Key Differences

Alloy and Intermetallic Compound are both products of combining two or more metals, but they have distinct differences in composition and properties. An Alloy is a blend where the combined metals (or a metal and another element) retain some of their individual properties. On the other hand, an Intermetallic Compound forms when two or more metals combine in specific ratios, resulting in a compound with unique properties, different from its parent metals.
Alloys are created to harness the best properties of its constituent metals. By mixing metals in varying proportions, one can get an Alloy with desired characteristics like increased strength, improved corrosion resistance, or better malleability. In contrast, Intermetallic Compounds are usually characterized by ordered structures and are more brittle than their parent metals. They have well-defined electron valencies and stoichiometry.
In the industry, Alloys are immensely popular because of their customizable properties. Examples include steel (an alloy of iron and carbon) and bronze (an alloy of copper and tin). Intermetallic Compounds, however, are often seen in applications requiring specific properties like high temperature stability or certain electronic characteristics.
To differentiate based on formation, Alloys can form in any proportion, and their constituent metals may or may not be soluble in each other in the solid-state. In the case of Intermetallic Compounds, they form in specific atomic ratios, often displaying a defined crystal structure.
Summing up, while both Alloy and Intermetallic Compound involve the combination of metals, their formation, properties, and applications can vary significantly. An alloy is a blend with varying compositions, while an Intermetallic Compound has a defined composition and distinct properties.

Comparison Chart


Variable ratios of metals.
Defined stoichiometry of metals.


Retains some properties of its constituent metals.
Exhibits unique properties different from parent metals.


Can form in any proportion.
Forms in specific atomic ratios.


Varies based on composition.
Typically more brittle.


Widely used for customized properties.
Specific applications like high temperature stability.

Compare with Definitions


A material designed to exhibit enhanced properties from its constituent elements.
The aircraft industry frequently uses titanium Alloys for their strength-to-weight ratio.

Intermetallic Compound

A compound formed from two or more metals with a specific stoichiometry.
The compound Ni3Al is an Intermetallic Compound of nickel and aluminum.


A mixture of two or more metals or of a metal and another element.
Brass is an Alloy of copper and zinc.

Intermetallic Compound

A substance with properties distinct from its constituent metals.
Some Intermetallic Compounds have high melting points, making them suitable for certain high-temperature applications.


A product of metallurgical processes to improve a metal's native properties.
The addition of chromium to steel creates a corrosion-resistant Alloy known as stainless steel.

Intermetallic Compound

A substance typically more brittle than pure metals or alloys.
The brittleness of some Intermetallic Compounds limits their use in structural applications.


A metallic solid or liquid that is composed of a homogeneous mixture of two or more metals or of metals and nonmetal or metalloid elements, usually for the purpose of imparting or increasing specific characteristics or properties
Brass is an alloy of zinc and copper.

Intermetallic Compound

A metallic compound with well-defined electron valencies.
The predictable electron behavior in Intermetallic Compounds is useful in various electronic applications.


A mixture; an amalgam
"Television news has ... always been an alloy of journalism and show business" (Bill Moyers).

Intermetallic Compound

A compound characterized by ordered crystal structures.
The structure of many Intermetallic Compounds contributes to their unique electronic properties.


The relative degree of mixture with a base metal; fineness.


Something added that lowers value or purity.


To combine (metals) to form an alloy.


To combine; mix
Idealism that was alloyed with political skill.


To debase by the addition of an inferior element.


A metal that is a combination of two or more elements, at least one of which is a metal.


(archaic) A metal of lesser value, mixed with a metal of greater value.
Gold without alloy


An admixture; something added which stains, taints etc.


(figurative) Fusion, marriage, combination.


To mix or combine; often used of metals.


To reduce the purity of by mixing with a less valuable substance.
To alloy gold with silver or copper, or silver with copper


(figurative) To impair or debase by mixture.
To alloy pleasure with misfortunes


Any combination or compound of metals fused together; a mixture of metals; for example, brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc. But when mercury is one of the metals, the compound is called an amalgam.


The quality, or comparative purity, of gold or silver; fineness.


A baser metal mixed with a finer.
Fine silver is silver without the mixture of any baser metal. Alloy is baser metal mixed with it.


Admixture of anything which lessens the value or detracts from; as, no happiness is without alloy.


To reduce the purity of by mixing with a less valuable substance; as, to alloy gold with silver or copper, or silver with copper.


To mix, as metals, so as to form a compound.


To abate, impair, or debase by mixture; to allay; as, to alloy pleasure with misfortunes.


To form a metallic compound.
Gold and iron alloy with ease.


A mixture containing two or more metallic elements or metallic and nonmetallic elements usually fused together or dissolving into each other when molten;
Brass is an alloy of zinc and copper


The state of impairing the quality or reducing the value of something


Lower in value by increasing the base-metal content


Make an alloy of


A metallic substance with components that are soluble in each other.
Sterling silver is an Alloy that contains a majority of silver mixed with other metals.


A blend that may or may not have metallic characteristics based on its constituents.
Some Alloys are designed to reduce metal fatigue in demanding applications.

Common Curiosities

What's the primary purpose of creating Alloys?

Alloys are created to achieve desired properties like strength, malleability, or corrosion resistance.

Are Intermetallic Compounds always brittle?

Typically, they're more brittle than metals or alloys, but properties can vary.

Do Intermetallic Compounds have a fixed composition?

Yes, Intermetallic Compounds have a defined stoichiometry or atomic ratio.

Can the properties of an Alloy be predicted from its constituents?

Not always. The combination can sometimes result in unexpected properties.

Can Intermetallic Compounds conduct electricity?

Yes, but their conductivity might differ from their parent metals.

Why might one prefer an Alloy over pure metal?

Alloys can combine the best properties of its constituents, often enhancing durability, strength, or resistance.

Are Alloys used in jewelry?

Yes, many jewelry pieces are made from alloys, like gold alloyed with other metals for strength.

How are Alloys made?

Alloys are made by melting and mixing two or more metals or a metal with another element.

What's a known application of Intermetallic Compounds?

They're often used in applications requiring high-temperature stability, like aerospace materials.

Are Intermetallic Compounds used in electronics?

Yes, some Intermetallic Compounds have electronic properties making them suitable for specific applications.

Share Your Discovery

Share via Social Media
Embed This Content
Embed Code
Share Directly via Messenger

Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

Popular Comparisons

Trending Comparisons

New Comparisons

Trending Terms