Compared to steel, Monel is very difficult to machine as it work-hardens instantly with heat and does not harden into a constant matrix. It needs to be turned and worked at slow speeds and low feed rates. It is resistant to corrosion and acids, and some alloys can withstand a fire in pure oxygen. It is commonly used in applications with highly corrosive conditions. Small additions of aluminium and titanium form an alloy (K-500) with the same corrosion resistance but with much greater strength due to gamma prime formation on aging. Monel is typically much more expensive than stainless steel.
Monel has a specific gravity of 8.82.
Monel has an electrical conductivity of approximately 3.6% IACS.
Monel's corrosion resistance makes it ideal for marine applications such as piping systems, pump shafts, trolling wire, and strainer baskets. Some alloys are completely non-magnetic and are used for anchor cable aboard minesweepers, housings for magnetic-field measurement equipment, and have applications in the oil drilling industry. In recreational boating, Monel wire is used to seize shackles for anchor rodes, Monel is used for water and fuel tanks, and for under water applications. It is also used for propeller shafts and for keel bolts.
Monel is used as the material for valve pistons in some higher quality musical instruments such as trumpets, tubas and french horn rotors. RotoSound introduced the use of Monel for electric bass strings in 1962, and these strings have been used by numerous artists, including The Who, Sting, John Deacon, and John Paul Jones. Monel was in use in the early 1930s by other musical string manufacturers, such as Gibson Guitar Corporation, who continue to offer them for mandolin as the Sam Bush signature set.
Parts of the Clock of the Long Now, which is intended to run for 10,000 years, are made from Monel because of the corrosion resistance without the use of precious metals.
Monel was used for much of the exposed metal used in the interior of the Bryn Athyn Cathedral. This included large decorative screens, doorknobs, etc. Monel also has been used as roofing material in buildings such as Penn Station.
The 1991 - 1996 Acura (Honda) NSX came with a key made of Monel.
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