BRONZE, OR COPPER-TIN, ALLOYS BASIC INFORMATION AND TUTORIALS


Bronze is an alloy consisting principally of copper and tin and sometimes small proportions of zinc, phosphorus, lead, manganese, silicon, aluminum, magnesium, etc. The useful range of composition is from 3% to 25% tin and 95% to 75% copper.

Bronze castings have a tensile strength of 195 to 345 MPa (28,000 to 50,000 lb/in2), with a maximum at about 18% of tin content. The crushing strength ranges from about 290 MPa (42,000 lb/in2) for pure copper to 1035 MPa (150,000 lb/in2) with 25% tin content.

Cast bronzes containing about 4% to 5% tin are the most ductile, elongating about 14% in 5 in. Gunmetal contains about 10% tin and is one of the strongest bronzes.

Bell metal contains about 20% tin. Copper-tin-zinc alloy castings containing 75% to 85% copper, 17% to 5% zinc, and 8% to 10% tin have a tensile strength of 240 to 275 Mpa (35,000 to 40,000 lb/in2), with 20% to 30% elongation.

Government bronze contains 88% copper, 10% tin, and 2% zinc; it has a tensile strength of 205 to 240 MPa (30,000 to 35,000 lb/in2), yield strength of about 50% of the ultimate, and about 14% to 16% elongation in 2 in; the ductility is much increased by annealing for ½ h at 700 to 800°C, but the tensile strength is not materially affected.

Phosphor bronze is made with phosphorus as a deoxidizer; for malleable products such as wire, the tin should not exceed 4% or 5%, and the phosphorus should not exceed 0.1%. United States Navy bronze contains 85% to 90% copper, 6% to 11% tin, and less than 4% zinc, 0.06% iron, 0.2% lead, and 0.5% phosphorus; the minimum tensile strength is 310 MPa (45,000 lb/in2), and elongation at least 20% in 2 in.

Lead bronzes are used for bearing metals for heavy duty; an ordinary composition is 80% copper, 10% tin, and 10% lead, with less than 1% phosphorus. Steam or valve bronze contains approximately 85% copper, 6.5% tin, 1.5% lead, and 4% zinc; the tensile strength is 235 Mpa (34,000 lb/in2), minimum, and elongation 22% minimum in 2 in (ASTM Specification B61). The bronzes have a great many industrial applications where their combination of tensile properties and corrosion resistance is especially useful.

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