Author Archives: RPM Developers

  1. Does Bronze Corrode?

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    Bronze is an alloy that demonstrates impressive versatility, strength, and aesthetic characteristics as a historically cherished material. From Bronze Age tools to ancient Greek statues, bronze has left its mark on our world. But does bronze corrode and eventually lose its luster? We will explore this question and bronze’s various properties to help you determine if this metal is suitable for your artistic, structural, or industrial project.

    Understanding Bronze and Corrosion

    Bronze is an alloy composed of primarily copper and tin. Depending on the intended application, the alloy may also contain elements like nickel, zinc, and/or aluminum. Bronze alloy is known for its unique characteristics, including its dark gold appearance, resistance to corrosion, and high strength. These properties make bronze a preferred metal for various artistic and functional applications.

    The Bronze Corrosion Process

    Corrosion is a natural deterioration process due to several factors, such as environmental conditions like the presence of chemicals, moisture, and extreme temperatures. There are two main types of corrosion: uniform corrosion and localized corrosion. Uniform corrosion spreads across the surface evenly, while localized corrosion affects a specific area of the surface, such as in crevice corrosion, galvanic corrosion, and pitting.

    While no material resists corrosion entirely, bronze offers impressive resistance to corrosion due to several factors.

    Does Bronze Have Corrosion Resistance?

    Bronze offers excellent corrosion resistance through its inherent properties and formation of patina. However, some environments will require extra attention to ensure corrosion resistance. The following properties influence bronze’s corrosion resistance:

    • Inherent Resistance: Bronze’s copper content is a primary component of the alloy, forming an oxide layer to protect its surface from oxidation and acting as a corrosion-resistant barrier.
    • Protective Patina Formation: A patina is a thin protective layer that develops over the surface of materials like bronze. The patina has a green or blue hue and grants bronze components a natural barrier against deep corrosion. The patina formation depends on the alloy’s specific composition and environmental factors.
    • Environmental Factors: While bronze alloys offer exceptional corrosion resistance, certain environmental factors can influence the metal’s ability to resist corrosion formation. Proper maintenance and care are required in environments prone to saltwater, highly polluted atmospheres, extreme humidity, and extreme temperatures to prevent accelerated corrosion.

    Does Bronze Corrode With Maintenance and Prevention?

    Ensuring the longevity and appearance of bronze components requires routine maintenance and cleaning. Minimizing exposure to moisture and harsh conditions can prevent corrosion, extending the lifespan and appearance of the bronze component. In addition, bronze’s innate corrosion-resistant properties can be enhanced with treatments and protective coatings.

    Learn More About Bronze From Sequoia Brass & Copper

    While no material is completely impervious to the effects of corrosion, bronze’s innate properties and protective patina offer sufficient corrosion resistance under the right circumstances. When protected from extreme environmental conditions and cared for through routine maintenance, bronze is a long-lasting material in a variety of applications, from sculptures to mission-critical marine components.

    Sequoia Brass & Copper is here to help you determine the ideal bronze alloy for your project. We have over 40 years of experience delivering metal fabrication services, and our staff is dedicated to providing the highest quality metal alloys and exceptional customer service. Browse our catalog of bronze products to learn more about our offerings, or request a quote for specific weight, size, and pricing options.

  2. Is Brass Conductive?

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    Brass is a popular alloy used across all major industries because of its favorable characteristics. Brass is electrically conductive because it contains copper and zinc as its primary elements. Depending on the proportion of copper to zinc, the alloy may be more or less conductive, strong, hard, or machinable. The ratio of elements in the brass can even alter the color of the alloy, making it a popular choice for art, visible home fixtures, and musical instruments. 

    Learn more about how to evaluate the conductivity of brass, common brass applications, and its conductivity relative to other metals.

    Electrical Conductivity Explained  

    Electrical conductivity is the property that measures how easily electricity travels through a material. Resistant materials with low conductivity do not transfer electricity efficiently; those materials can be used as insulation. Very conductive materials allow electricity to pass through them quickly with very little electrical loss, making them an excellent choice for electrical components like wires and relays. 

    The degree to which brass and other alloys are conductive depends on the exact composition of the metal. If it has a higher proportion of conductive metal (like copper) and a lower proportion of resistant material (like zinc), the overall conductivity of the alloy will be high. In industries like telecommunications, electrical engineering, and electronics, it’s important to use metals that are properly conductive so they can efficiently send electrical signals with minimal loss or heat generation.  

    Evaluating the Conductivity of Brass  

    To have the right type of brass for every application, manufacturers need to source reliably fabricated alloys with known compositions. Manufacturers can also use a variety of factors to evaluate the stock’s conductivity. Some of the conditions that affect the conductivity of individual pieces of brass include:

    • The proportions of different metals within the alloy
    • Ambient temperature
    • Surface condition

    Brass Conductivity: Experimental Evidence

    While manufacturers can rely on product records to determine the conductivity of their brass supply, they can also conduct tests and experiments to calculate the precise level of conductivity. Scientists have run significant tests on different brass alloys to create records and mechanisms for ascertaining their properties.

    Individuals can also test the conductivity of brass by putting it to use. For example, they can test electrical wires, connectors, and other components to measure their effectiveness. Musical instruments can also be tested by the instrument’s tonality, which is also affected by the metal’s conductivity.

    Applications of Brass

    The inherent conductivity of brass makes it an excellent material option for myriad applications. Some of the most common applications for brass include:  

    • Decorative elements: A popular choice for complex architectural constructions. Its appealing color and formability have also historically made it a popular choice for complex sculpture art.
    • Electrical and electronics: Brass offers high levels of conductivity and low levels of resistance, which is ideal for electrical wires, connectors, switches, and other internal components.
    • Musical instruments: The conductive properties of brass improve the tonal quality of brass instruments, such as trombones, trumpets, and saxophones.
    • Plumbing: Plumbing systems use brass components for controlling the movement of liquid and gas throughout pipes with minimal static electricity.

    Factors Influencing Material Selection

    Brass offers several beneficial characteristics to manufacturers, including easy fabrication, resistance to corrosion, and electrical conductivity. However, its conductivity is lower than copper, aluminum, silver, and gold, so brass is ideal for applications that need some electrical conductivity and don’t require investing in more expensive copper materials. 

    Brass From Sequoia Brass & Copper

    At Sequoia Brass & Copper, we provide our clients with high-quality brass stock that is cut to order and quick to ship. Select products from our brass inventory, or request a quote to start your order.

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