Aluminum is among the most widely used metals on the planet, not only because it is abundant (constituting about eight percent of the Earth’s land mass), but more importantly because it has many useful properties. While aluminum is typically utilized in its pure form, it can also be safely alloyed with other metals to form stronger and more valuable materials.
One of the popular metals that aluminum is usually alloyed with is bronze. For decades, aluminum bronze has been an indispensable alloy utilized for a range of construction and industrial uses. Adding aluminum to the original tin-copper mixture elevates the potential of regular bronze bars and sheets, making them stronger and more durable.
Aluminum bronzes normally contain between 3% and 12% aluminum, in addition to the original copper and tin. Other alloying agents such as iron, nickel, manganese, and silicon are also sometimes added to aluminum bronzes to make them even more resilient. A wide variety of this alloy with differing compositions are manufactured to support various applications.
Making the Alloy
There are three main techniques for making aluminum bronze alloys—solid solution strengthening, which works by adding atoms of one element to the crystalline lattice of another element; cold working, the process of strengthening a metal by changing its shape without the use of heat; and precipitation of an iron rich phase. To produce even stronger aluminum bronzes, most manufacturers combine these techniques.
Both aluminum and bronze are non-ferrous metals. This means, they are resistant to oxidation or rusting. Bronze, however, tarnishes very fast as it reacts to oxygen. By mixing it with aluminum, it overcomes that weakness and maintains a golden color for much longer. It is also resistant to corrosion, particularly in atmospheric conditions and at high temperatures. Also, this metal doesn’t easily react to sulfurous compounds and other exhaust products of combustion, which makes it effective in applications that involve exposure to noxious gases.
The copper component of aluminum bronze is known for its bacteriostatic property. Aluminum has a little bit of that as well. So when combined, these metals can turn into a lethal weapon against bacteria and other organisms, including algae, lichens, barnacles, and mussels. This is why aluminum bronzes are good for both fresh and salt water functions.
With higher corrosion resistance and more excellent mechanical properties, aluminum bronzes are perfect for manufacturing bearing and machine parts for heavily loaded applications. These include gun mounting and slides, landing gear parts, and pickling tank and mild alkali uses. Because it is also resistant to erosion and cavitation, it is widely used for making propellers and other marine hardware.
If you are looking for high-grade aluminum bronze material for your next industrial or construction project, see to it that you will go to the right supplier. With the many metal suppliers in North America these days, it can be difficult to find one that you can trust. You’ll have a better chance though if you will factor in the number of years the supplier is in operation. Companies like Rotax Metals that have been around for decades are your best bet.
About Rotax Metals:
Whether you need bronze, copper, or brass products for your next project, Rotax Metals is the supplier you should contact. Ever since we started our business over 70 years ago, we’ve never failed to deliver the highest quality metal sheets, bars, tubes, and rods for all kinds of project. We serve a wide range of industries from design and construction to industrial development. We also offer special services, including polishing, metal shearing, waterjet cutting, and metal fabrication.
Aluminum Bronzes, copper.orgHow Cold Working Strengthens Metal, thebalance.com