Bronze is one of the oldest and most popular metals in the world, only next to gold and silver. It’s prized throughout history for its many valuable qualities, which allow it to be utilized for a wide range of applications. However, unlike gold and silver, it is not a pure metal, but rather an alloy of copper and tin, two non-ferrous metals with an amazing list of beneficial properties of their own.
Different amounts of copper and tin can be combined to form different types of bronze. Sometimes, other metals are added as well to enhance existing properties or produce new ones, making it suitable for more than few applications. The following are the different types of bronze and their uses.
The amount of tin in typical bronze ranges from 10% to 12%. This combination already makes bronze strong and corrosion-resistant. However, it may not have enough wear resistance and stiffness required in situations where fatigue and chemical corrosion are commonplace, such as propellers operating under seawater or even dental bridges. By adding a small amount of phosphorous and reducing the amount of tin to balance out excess, bronze’s wear resistance and stiffness are increased.
To improve bronze’s strength, ductility, and corrosion resistance, other metals are added into the alloy. Silicon and manganese are among the additional metal that give bronze this kind of boost. In most cases, these metals also increase other properties of bronze, including workability, weldability, and longevity. Plus, the silicon’s natural sheen gives this type of bronze its attractive golden shade. As such, silicon bronze is usually made into highly visible items, such as door fittings, railings, hinges, and window frames.
Adding 5% to 12% aluminum into the basic copper-tin alloy makes bronze stronger and more corrosion-resistant than most types of brass. This is because of the tough protective alumina film that develops on the surface of the finished product. With these new properties, aluminum bronze can now make a more effective fastener, pipe and valve component, and heat exchanger material.
Other types of bronze are less popular because they are utilized for quite fewer applications, although the same metals are added only in different quantities. When looking for bronze to be used for your project, be it bronze sheet metal or bronze tube, it is crucial to know the different types of bronze first. This way you can choose the most suitable material. It also helps to get your bronze supplies from a reputable supplier, such as Rotax Metals.