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Metallurgy is a branch of Materials Engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of elements and their mixtures(called alloys). Most metallic elements are best used in the alloyed form, for example, steel, brass, aluminum alloys. However some relatively 100% pure elements like semiconductors owe their properties to the presence of controlled amount of impurities in them. Metals seem to work as structural materials under loading conditions where sudden failures must be avoided. The metals are stronger than most plastics and have more toughness than most ceramics. Unlike Mechanical Engineers, Metallurgists study the micromechanisms that cause a metal or alloy to behave in the way that it does, i.e. the changes that occur on the atomic level that affect the metal's (or alloy's) macro-properties.