nickel silver(redirected from Alpaca silver)
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(also German silver), an alloy of copper with nickel (5–35 percent) and zinc (13–45 percent). A higher nickel content gives it an attractive white color, with a greenish or bluish cast, and increased corrosion resistance. Expensive wares made from alloys resembling nickel silver (called paktong) were brought to Europe from China in the 18th century. In the 19th century such articles (usually silver-plated) were manufactured under various commercial names—for example, Chinese silver or melchior.
Nickel silver of the MNTs 15–20 brand, which contains 13.5–16.5 percent Ni and 18–22 percent Zn, is currently being produced in the USSR. It is a single-phase alloy (a solid solution of nickel and zinc in copper) that lends itself readily to hot and cold pressure working; after deformation it has high strength and ductility, góod electrical conductivity, and high corrosion resistance. Nickel silver is used in electrical engineering (flat relay springs) and in the manufacture of silver-plated wares and objets d’art (called melchior products), instruments for the precision mechanics industry, and steam and water fixtures.