Author Archives: Sequoia Brass & Copper.

  1. Is Bronze Magnetic?

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    Bronze is an alloy made from copper and tin. Throughout human history, it has been an important material that has greatly contributed to the advancement of civilizations. Today bronze is used in numerous applications, from the automotive industry to architecture, agriculture, and more. One particularly interesting aspect of this metal is its magnetic behavior.

    Before deciding to implement bronze in any application, understanding whether or not it is magnetic is an important step. As one of North America’s leading bronze suppliers, Sequoia Brass & Copper can help you with everything you need to know about this valuable metal alloy. In this blog, we’ll explore the magnetic properties of bronze and discuss how its alloying elements influence its overall magnetic behavior.

    Bronze Composition

    As a copper and tin alloy, bronze is typically composed of around 88% copper and 12% tin. Both of these metals feature unique atomic structures and magnetic properties that influence bronze’s characteristics. In its pure form, copper features no magnetic properties, while tin is lightly attracted to magnetic fields.

    Magnetic Properties of Copper

    Magnetism is caused by the motion of electrons spinning around an atom’s nucleus. When equal numbers of electrons spin in opposite directions, they are not attracted to a magnetic field. When they spin in the same direction, however, a magnetic field is produced. Copper has a face-centered cubic crystal structure, and features a single valence electron in its outer shell. Due to this unpaired electron, copper exhibits some weak diamagnetic properties.

    A diamagnetic material is one that creates a weak magnetic field in opposition to externally applied magnetic fields. While the diamagnetic effect of copper is weak, the metal still demonstrates an inherent aversion to magnetic forces.

    Magnetic Properties of Tin

    Tin has a body-centered tetragonal crystal structure and, unlike copper, contains two free valence electrons. These electrons cause tin to be weakly paramagnetic. Paramagnetism is caused by a material’s multiple unpaired electrons that are weakly attracted to an externally applied magnetic field.

    Similar to copper, tin’s paramagnetic properties are not particularly strong, but still present. When tin and copper are combined into an alloy, their unpaired electrons pair up, creating a non-magnetic material.

    Bronze’s Magnetic Behavior

    When we have a basic understanding of the metals bronze is made up of, it becomes easier to predict how this material will behave. Bronze’s magnetic behavior is most significantly influenced by the proportion of copper and tin that are used to create it. Since copper makes up the largest proportion of bronze, it contributes its diamagnetic behavior to the alloy.

    While tin is a paramagnetic material, it is not dominant enough to affect bronze’s overall magnetism. As a result, bronze’s magnetic behavior is close to diamagnetic, due to its copper dominance. This means that bronze slightly repels a magnetic field, although the effect is significantly weaker than that of pure copper, due to the influence of tin.

    The Influence of Impurities in Bronze

    While bronze is primarily composed of tin and copper, both historical and modern bronze alloys can contain trace amounts of impurities. Due to variations in ore sources or manufacturing techniques, other metals, non-metals, and metalloids are sometimes found in bronze, such as:

    • Phosphorous
    • Silicon
    • Aluminum
    • Manganese
    • Nickel

    In some cases, these impurities can impact bronze’s magnetic behavior. Impurities that introduce ferrimagnetic or ferromagnetic behavior can make bronze more responsive to magnetic fields. Depending on the type and amount of materials added to bronze, various useful properties can be achieved, such as enhanced machinability or ductility.

    When materials like aluminum or manganese are added, bronze becomes weakly magnetic, since both aluminum and manganese are paramagnetic materials. For this reason, it’s important to understand which alloying metals are found in bronze before selecting a certain type for an application.

    Learn More About Bronze with Sequoia Brass & Copper

    Since bronze is primarily made up of copper, which is diamagnetic, bronze is not magnetic. However, it’s possible for other elements to be added in quantities that subtly affect bronze’s magnetic behavior. With its diverse range of end-use applications, bronze products are a necessity for many industries.

    Sequoia Brass & Copper specializes in supplying high-quality alloy bronze metals at competitive prices. All of our bronze products are cut to order according to your specifications. To learn more, visit our bronze page to review our product offerings or request a quote to get started on your next project.

  2. Properties of Bronze

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    Metalworkers have used bronze for millennia. From the time when civilizations first cast bronze tools around 3000 BCE through today when manufacturers produce high-performance components for vehicles, industrial equipment, and electrical systems, this alloy has offered many advantageous characteristics as compared to other metals.. 

    By combining copper and tin with different materials like aluminum, silicon, and phosphorous, malleable bronze alloys imbue products with long-lasting strength, resistance capabilities, and thermal and electrical conductivity, all with a beautiful surface finish. Learn more about the properties of bronze, how diverse industries use it, and the bronze alloy types that are available.

    Bronze Properties  

    By alloying copper and other metals, bronze takes on the beneficial properties of multiple materials. Some key characteristics that make bronze a popular material choice are: 

    • Improved tensile strength through alloying
    • Resistance to wear, corrosion, and stress
    • Ductility and malleability for easy forming and ability to hold shapes
    • Thermal and electrical conductivity for heat transfer and electrical projects
    • Pleasing aesthetic with attractive coloring, soft shine, and patina development over time

    Bronze Applications in the Architectural Industry

    Architectural professionals value bronze for its versatility, as its benefits address a structure’s function as well as its form.

    Structural Applications

    Bronze is both strong and durable enough to use for structural components. This includes building cladding, facades, and domes or roofs. Builders can also restore historical buildings, utilizing bronze to create windows and doors that preserve authenticity, as well as erect plaques or monuments to honor designated locations and people.

    Ornamental Applications

    Bronze has a warm color and naturally develops a beautiful and protective patina on its surface that resists corrosion. Architects and designers use it for ornamental fixtures and hardware, in addition to more artistic elements like statuary and sculptures.

    Bronze Applications in the Industry

    Industrial organizations incorporate bronze into their machinery and tools, among other applications.  

    Manufacturing Equipment Components

    Parts within manufacturing equipment often have a bronze composition. Manufacturers use bronze to make couplings, bushings, bearings, gears and wear surfaces.

    Tooling & Machining

    When manufacturers produce tooling, they’ll utilize bronze for its strength, wear resistance, and formability. It has applications in cutting and shaping tools, dies, and molds.

    Marine & Offshore Applications

    Because of its corrosion resistance, manufacturers can use bronze to create durable ship parts like shafts and propellers.

    Bronze Applications in the Agricultural Industry

    The agricultural industry also relies on bronze to create heavy-duty equipment and system components.

    Irrigation Systems

    Irrigation systems often include bronze fittings, valves, sprinkler parts, pump housings, and more. Bronze can withstand exposure to the elements, water, and pressure.

    Farming Equipment Components

    In addition to parts for irrigation systems, bronze components are frequently used in harvesting equipment because they offer dependable strength even in such rugged applications.

    Bronze Applications in the Automotive Industry

    Vehicle designs commonly feature bronze components for internal systems.

    Engine Components

    Engines rely on precise, heat-resistant metal components for reliable operation. Manufacturers use bronze to produce durable valve guides, bushing, and bearings.

    Electrical Systems

    Bronze is electrically conductive, making it a good option for connectors, relays, switches, and terminal components in vehicles.

    Suspension & Steering

    Bronze components in suspension and steering systems include control arms, tie rods, bushings, bearings, and more. Bronze can last for a long time in such applications without incurring wear.

    Bronze Alloys

    Bronze is primarily composed of copper and tin, but it also includes amounts of aluminum, silicon, phosphorous, and other elements. The properties of a bronze product depend on the composition of the alloy, including the type and proportion of the alloying metals. Some common bronze alloys include:

    • Aluminum bronze. This bronze alloy is particularly strong and resists corrosion.
    • Silicon bronze. Manufacturers use silicon bronze for its optimal weldability.
    • Phosphor bronze. This alloy is electrically conductive and has excellent physical spring characteristics.

    Bronze From Sequoia Brass & Copper Inc.

    At Sequoia Brass & Copper, we’ve specialized in high-quality nonferrous metals and alloys since 1983. We serve the metal fabrication industry, carrying solid and cored bar bronze shapes as well as bar, sheet, and plate forms of materials like copper and brass.

    Our team can cut each of our bronze products to order to best fit your unique needs and close tolerance requirements, offering on-demand custom cutting services in-house. To begin your project, fill out our online form and request a quote today.

  3. Types of Metal That Are Corrosion Resistant or Don’t Rust

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    Rusting and corrosion are undesirable effects that can ruin a metal’s ability to perform optimally for the intended application. When working with environments exposed to moisture, chemicals, and other corrosive substances, it’s important to select metal materials that are resistant to corrosion and rust. 

    At Sequoia Brass and Copper, we are a domestic supplier with decades of experience serving the metal fabrication industries in North America. We are a service-oriented company, committed to offering the highest quality materials and customer service. As part of our product catalog, we offer a range of corrosion- and rust-resistance materials, including copper, brass, and bronze.

    What Causes Metals to Corrode? 

    Metal corrosion is a natural process that gradually deteriorates metal materials via an electrochemical reaction. This reaction begins on the metal’s surface and involves the exchange of electrons between the metal and the corroding agent, such as oxygen or water. Corrosion of metals can occur due to exposure to environmental elements such as humidity and condensation. The metal reacts with the hydrogen and oxygen in the water, causing it to oxidize. 

    What Causes Metals to Rust? 

    Rust is the result of corrosion, which is caused by metal oxidation. During oxidation, the metal wears away and develops a visible red or brownish substance (rust) on the surface. If a metal susceptible to corrosion is uncoated, its lifespan is significantly shorter than one with the proper protective coating.

    Rust must be treated; otherwise, it can completely corrode a metal into a dry oxide powder. The most common environmental elements that lead to rust include chemicals, salt, moisture, and air.

    Metals That Are Corrosion Resistant

    At Sequoia Brass and Copper, we offer the following types of corrosion-resistant metals:


    Copper is excellent in applications requiring the conduction of heat and electricity. The material exhibits relative corrosion resistance properties, making it ideal for various metal fabrication applications. Sequoia Brass and Copper specializes in Oxygen-Free copper, and we maintain a significant inventory of all copper products at our warehouse in Hayward, California. We carry copper in various stock sizes, ensuring you get the material you need with competitive prices and shipping rates.


    Composed of copper and zinc, brass is commonly used for electric components, musical instruments, automotive parts, architectural structures, and more. This corrosion-resistant metal features a low melting point and can be easily cast. To meet a range of needs, we carry brass in various stock sizes and forms, including tube, plate, rod, sheet, bar, and pipe.  


    Bronze is created by alloying copper and tin in varying amounts. This metal is harder than brass and provides durable, sturdy, and corrosion-resistant performance. These desirable properties make it a common choice in industries such as automotive, industrial, architectural, and agricultural. Additionally, it is non-sparking and produces minimal friction, making it suitable for producing weapons, tools, and bells. At Sequoia Brass and Copper, we can provide bronze materials in cored bar and solid bar forms, with various stock sizes available.

    Other Corrosion Resistant Metal Examples

    In addition to the materials listed above, other examples of corrosion-resistant metals include: 

    Stainless Steel

    Stainless steel is a mixture of elements, and most have some iron traces, making it oxidize quickly to form rust. However, many stainless steel alloys have chromium which oxidizes to form chromium oxide on the metal surface. This protective layer is corrosion-resistant and hinders oxygen from reaching the underlying steel. Stainless steel also has other elements, such as molybdenum and nickel, which increases its rust resistance. 

    Aluminum Alloy

    Aluminum is ideal for manufacturing automotive and aircraft parts due to its lightweight and corrosion-resistance properties. The material doesn’t contain iron, meaning it won’t rust. Additionally, it oxidizes when exposed to water, which causes an aluminum oxide film to form on the surface. This film prevents further corrosion and protects the metal underneath. 

    Galvanized Steel

    Although galvanized steel will eventually rust, the process takes a relatively long time. Galvanized steel is a type of carbon steel that has undergone galvanizing or has been coated with zinc. The zinc coating hinders oxygen and water from reaching the underlying steel, thus offering advanced corrosion protection. 

    Source Your Corrosion-Resistant Materials from Sequoia Brass and Copper

    To ensure you get the right corrosion-resistant materials for your metal fabrication needs, partner with Sequoia Brass and Copper. We have a large inventory of copper, brass, and bronze metals that are available in various shapes and sizes to meet your particular requirement. With a dedication to quality materials and customer service, we can provide you with the metal products you need at competitive prices. 

    For more information about our corrosion-resistant metals, or to get started on your order, request a quote today. You can also reach our team at (510) 887-5525.

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