Tuesday, June 30, 2015

You Get What You Pay For: 5 Reasons Trusts Trumps Price When Purchasing Bronze

Bronze has been both utilized for and in a variety of products throughout history, including tools, weapons and armor. As well, it has been used to cast beautiful sculptures since craftsmen first discovered the practice in ancient Greece. Today, Bronze is ideally used for bearings, bushings, wear plates, heavy duty guides and springs.

Unfortunately, the price of bronze has risen dramatically over the past decade, causing manufacturers, architects and sculptors to seek more economic alternatives. This is due to the fact that copper, a main component of bronze, has become increasingly expensive.

In 2000, copper cost just under $1 a pound. However, as the Great Recession hit in 2007, the price soared to $5 per pound. Even though the price has since simmered down, the metal’s price still hovers around $3 per pound. This 200% increase over the last decade has caused a dramatic effect on the modern use of bronze.

Sculptors, who once used bronze as the main component in their art, have converted to using cheaper alternatives like Aqua-Resin, concrete, Fiberglass, gypsum- and polyurethane-based resins, plaster and terra cotta.

Commercially, the cheaper alternative to using bronze is brass, due to its composition of copper and zinc. However and most importantly, some copper-based alloy such as Aluminum Bronzes offer a combination of mechanical & chemical properties unmatched by any other alloy series.  This feature often makes copper-based alloys the first choice for demanding applications. 

Additionally, industry professionals know that you must trust the metal you are working with. Thus, I’ve come up with five reasons to consider purchasing bronze despite its cost.

  1. It contains excellent corrosion resistance – especially in seawater and similar environments, where the alloys often outperform many stainless steels
  2. Exhibits good weldability – making fabrication economical
  3. Good resistance to fatigue- ensuring a long service life thus saving time & money down the road
  4. Some aluminum bronzes exhibit strengths comparable to low alloy steels and many are stronger than most stainless steels. For instance in Bridge Applications – some bronzes thrive on heavy loads, shocks and harsh working environments thus making it a perfect fit for bridge bearings. When lubrication of sliding surfaces is less than ideal, aluminum bronzes are superior to ferrous materials.
  5. Non-Sparking Characteristics – Excellent non-sparking characteristics make aluminum bronzes suitable for manufacture of tools and equipment used in the handling of explosives, in mines, petroleum and chemical plants, gas-handling equipment and similar applications.

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