Bronze is one of the most important metals ever discovered. In fact, it is so important that an entire age in history was named after it. An alloy of copper and tin, bronze is a favorite material for making a wide range of items, including weapons, farming tools, bells, and even coins. Today, bronze is wielded for various industrial applications, and for the following good reasons.
Because bronze is an alloy of two non-ferrous metals—meaning it doesn’t contain iron, which reacts with oxygen to form rust—it naturally resists corrosion. Instead of forming rust (iron oxide) upon contact with oxygen molecules, it forms a protective outer layer, called patina. This process, called passivation, is unique to all non-ferrous metals. As a result, bronze makes a perfect material option for applications that involve exposure to oxygen-containing moisture.
Coefficient of Linear Thermal Expansion
There are many ways to determine a metal’s resistance to heat. One is determining its coefficient of linear expansion or the length by which it expands after being exposed to extreme heat. Bronze has a coefficient of linear expansion of 17.5 to 18. It may look high but it’s actually low that is five points higher than that of concrete, a material that is virtually unyielding to heat. In other words, bronze is one of the best materials for applications that involve exposure to high temperatures.
Wear and Tear
If you look inside an engine, you will see bearing and gear components that are made of bronze. While other metals may have the strength to withstand the speed and pressure required to power engines, very few metals like bronze can actually sustain minimal wear and tear over time, allowing it to last for many years with minimal maintenance. Machines with bronze components, therefore, need constant maintenance and replacement parts.
Generally, copper alloys have excellent machinability. This means that they can be cut easily to suit specific or complex mechanical or structural designs. Unlike steel, which requires just the right amount of carbon molecules to allow for machining, bronze remains highly machinable at various mixtures of copper and tin. It’s no wonder many small machine parts and intricate tubes and bars are made of bronze.
Ease of Welding
Unfortunately, not all metals can easily be welded to another metal. Some even don’t join no matter how you fuse them. Welding is an important procedure in machine design and construction because it helps connect metals securely and fast. Instead of smelting or casting them to form one object, you can simply connect their ends or sides onsite through welding. Bronze is known for its high weldability. It is easy to braze and solder as well.
Whether you are a machine designer looking for the best metals for your upcoming projects or an artisan who is fascinated by the beauty of copper alloys, bronze can be your best bet. You can find high-quality bronze bars, sheets, and tubes in reputable suppliers like Rotax Metals. It always helps to find a supplier that has already partnered with successful builders, designers, and suppliers across North America for many decades.
About Rotax Metals
When it comes to metals, particularly copper, brass, and bronze, Rotax Metals is your most reliable supplier. We started our business in 1948 and since then we’ve provided the highest quality metals for all kinds of project across North America. We customize machine parts, too. So whether you are a builder, supplier, or artisan looking for the best copper alloys, you are most welcome to check out our inventory and find the metals you need.
Infographic: History of Bronze Timeline, Makin-Metals.com
Coefficients of Linear Thermal Expansion, EngineeringToolbox.comCopper and copper alloys, Twi-Global.com