Bronze is an alloy consisting of copper, tin and other metals (such as zinc, aluminum, nickel and tin) or non-metals (such as lead, phosphorous and silicon), depending on the application. It is one of the oldest alloys used in coins and sculptures.
Due to its excellent physical, chemical and mechanical properties, mainly from its copper component, it is a versatile material that can be used in a wide range of applications. It is non-magnetic, has good thermal and electrical conductivity. It is also corrosion resistant. Throughout the centuries, several types of bronze have been created.
Phosphor Bronze is often composed of 0.5% to 1% tin and 0.01% to 0.35% phosphorous. This combination, also referred to as “tin bronze”, gives the alloy increased strength, durability, low coefficient of friction, and high fatigue resistance in a fine, smooth grain. The tin content of the alloy provides the corrosive and durable qualities. Other impressive qualities are a result of phosphorous levels. It is mainly used to make anti-corrosive equipment, electrical components, sprints, washers, and more.
Silicon Bronze, also commonly referred to as “red silicon bronze” is composed of 96% copper and silicon mixture, and small amounts of tin, iron, zinc and manganese. It is most commonly used in manufacturing pumps and valve parts, and generally on parts that are submerged in water.
Nickel brass is made up of copper, tin and nickel. The copper and tin content provides the strength, anti-corrosive and durable properties of the alloy. The amount of nickel renders a silver color. This type of bronze alloy is mainly used to make music instruments, food and beverage equipment, and optical equipment, among others.
The alloy is also like Nickel Brass. The only difference is the amount of nickel content. It can range between 2% to 30%. It makes the alloy strong, corrosive-resistant. It has high thermal stability, making it useful for applications involving varying temperature.
This type of bronze is special. As its name suggests, it is often used for bushings, bearings and other mechanical applications. It offers high corrosion and excellent wear resistance. It also has incredible hardness and strength.
Manganese Bronze is an alloy of copper and manganese with other metals. Its high resistance against saltwater corrosion makes it a preference when making equipment for the Navy such as boat propellers.
Adding a sufficient amount of aluminum makes normal bronze more durable. It contains between 6% to 12% aluminum, 6% iron and 6% nickel. It has superior strength and high corrosive resistance. It is commonly used in applications such as manufacturing of marine hardware, corrosive fluids pumps, sleeve bearings, and more.
Bronze is commonly manufactured in the form of tubes, rods, ingots or sheets. Since a smooth, silver finish is often preferred, and silver is very expensive, the different types of bronze focus on changing the appearance, while retaining or even heightening the physical and chemical properties. Bronze can perform just as well, with half of the cost.