Alloys of Bronze
Copper and tin are excellent metals used separately in various applications, each possessing properties unparalleled with those of other metals. When combined, they produce bronze, a hard and brittle yet durable metal alloy significant in antiquity and widely used in making essential machinery components. Metallurgists consider bronze as the first alloy man discovered.
Bronze primarily consists of copper with tin as the usual additive. The hardness and brittleness of this metal depend on the amount of tin added. The hardest has around eight percent tin and is effective in making springs and connectors. Tin increases the yield strength of the finished material and decreases its brittleness. Such an alloy can stand severe oxidation, which leads to corrosion.
The hardness, fatigue resistance, and wear resistance of bronze increase when phosphorous is added, producing phosphor bronze. This alloy is good in making fasteners, masonry fixings, valve spindles, gears and bearings. Lead is also added to increase stress tolerance, which allows the metal to perform heavy duties. There are three major alloys produced from bronze, making its exploit in many other applications: aluminum bronze, silicon bronze, and manganese or architectural bronze.
An aluminum bronze normally consists of about 15 percent aluminum. The resulting alloy produces a protective alumina film that gives it better corrosion resistance than typical tin brasses. It can be distinguished for its attractive golden color and a very little tarnishing over time. Some of the common materials made from aluminum bronze include bronze tubing, valve components, heat exchangers, and fasteners.
Silicon bronze is an alloy of copper, silicon, and manganese. Compared with typical bronze, this alloy is ductile and can be drawn into wires. The additives’ properties make the ductility of copper, which is used in making a copper rod superior. However, strength is slightly compromised after reducing brittleness and hardness. This is mostly used to make railings, window frames, hinges and wall ties. Silicon bronze can also be a good material for bronze tubing used in marine applications.
Manganese bronze is often mistaken as pure bronze because of its name. However, this alloy is considered as a brass metal but with almost similar properties to typical aluminum bronze used to make bronze tubing. The term “architectural bronze” refers to a leaded manganese bronze that creates a more lustrous surface, making it a favorite material for sculpture and other architectural applications.
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