What Is an Ingot?

An ingot is a material cast into a shape to facilitate transportation and processing. An ingot is typically rectangular, which allows it to be stacked. Ingots are most commonly associated with metals; in fact, ingots of gold held in the vaults of banks and brokerages are popular images.

Key Takeaways

  • An ingot is a material cast into a shape, typically rectangular, in order to be stacked, to facilitate transportation and processing.
  • Ingots are commonly associated with metals, such as gold ingots held in the vaults of banks.
  • An ingot is formed by injecting or pouring molten liquid into a mold, where it will cool and take the shape of the mold.
  • Ingots are bound to a set of Good Delivery Rules that are laid out by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA).
  • Many types of ingots exist, as much as there are metals, such as nickel, iron, aluminum, cobalt, and titanium.

Understanding Ingots

An ingot is formed by injecting or pouring molten liquid into a mold, where it will cool and take the shape of the mold. The process of creating ingots is thousands of years old, as molding metals into regular shapes made it easier to transport and store.

Steel ingots range in size and shape. They can be small blocks weighing a few pounds to large octagonal shapes weighing over 500 tons. Tin ingots are the starting material for numerous products, whether the tin will be alloyed with other metals, converted to other forms, applied to the surfaces of other metals, or converted to chemical compounds.

The word ingot comes from the mold in which the bars are cast. This process differentiates them from other, usually smaller, bars, which are produced by minting or stamping sheets of gold bullion.

Special Considerations

Ingots are bound to a set of Good Delivery Rules that are laid out by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). As with all other types of bullion bar, gold ingots are required by the LBMA to contain 99.5% pure gold, i.e., 995.0 parts per thousand of fine gold.

For investors, gold is considered a good hedge against inflation.

The LBMA was founded in 1987 by the Bank of England, the market’s regulator at the time. It is the trade association for the over-the-counter gold and silver market in London. The association is responsible for the regulation of refining standards, trading practices, and the certification of the bullion used to make gold and silver bars and coins.

Types of Ingots

There are a variety of types of ingots, as much as there are metals. Some of the most common ingots are as follows:

Aluminum: Aluminum is used in a variety of industries, such as aerospace, electronics, and home appliances.

Cobalt: Cobalt is used to make magnets and is present in mobile phones, batteries, and the medical industry.

Copper: Copper is one of the widely used metals known for its ability to conduct electricity well.

Iron: Iron is used heavily in many industries, such as aerospace and construction.

Other ingots include all other metals such as gold, nickel, and titanium.

What Is a Steel Ingot?

A steel ingot is a piece of steel that has been formed into a particular shape to make it easier for transportation and storage. Steel ingots are made by melting the metal and then reforming the shape in a mold. The purity of a steel ingot, like most ingots, is extremely high.

How Much Does an Ingot of Gold Weigh?

A standard ingot of gold, also known as a gold bar, weighs 12.4 kilograms. This is 400 troy ounces of gold or 27.4 pounds.

What Is Ingot Casting?

Ingot casting is the process of creating ingots out of metals. The metal is melted and refined and then poured into a mold. The metal then solidifies, forming the ingot, at which time the mold is removed and the ingot is soaked in heating pits. After the heating pits, the ingot is then hot rolled into either slabs, billets, or blooms.

What Is Ingot Solidification?

Ingot solidification is the step in ingot casting when the melted metal that has been placed into a mold starts to solidify. This turns the melted metal into a hard object that is then later hot rolled into the desired shape of the ingot, such as a square slab.

What Is the Difference Between an Ingot, Bloom, and Billet?

Metals can be rolled into ingots, blooms, or billets. Ingots are heavier than blooms, blooms are heavier than billets, and billets are heavier than slabs. Ingots are considered to be a better final product as they lead to better internal soundness. Each has different shapes and different cross-sections and is created depending on the final need of the metal.

Article Sources
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  1. Britannica. "Ingot."

  2.  London Bullion Market Association. "The Guide," Page 18.

  3. London Bullion Market Association. "Origins of the London Bullion Market."

  4. Americash. "How Much Does Gold Brick Weigh?"

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