Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Understanding Sleeve Bearings

So many bearings, so little time! We’ve previously written about different types of bearings and how bearings work, but today we’re going to hone in on one specific type of bearing we manufacture at Atlas Bronze: the sleeve bearing.

What Are Sleeve Bearings?

Sleeve bearings may come in a different form than other kinds of bearings, but they have the same purpose: to reduce friction between two or more moving parts. Bearings bear the load and force of one moving part on another, allowing both simple and complex machines to run smoothly, preventing wear and tear from friction.

As their name suggests, sleeve bearings are quite literally sleeves made of plastic, metal, or fiber-reinforced composite material. Sleeve bearings slide between two moving parts, absorbing friction and reducing both noise and vibration. 

Sleeve Bearing Basics

A sleeve bearing that’s made with metal is typically comprised of steel, bronze, graphite, or brass. As discussed above, polymer plastic and composite sleeve bearings are an option as well, but their use is limited to specific applications, while metal bearings are more widely used. Any material used to make sleeve bearings must be durable, low friction, resistant to corrosion, and able to withstand high temperatures.

To further reduce friction, some sleeve bearings come complete with lubricant plugs to ensure smooth motion between parts. Another option is an oil-impregnated bronze sleeve bearing, a unique solution that releases oil when under pressure, then absorbs it back into tiny pores when the pressure is released.

It should also be mentioned that sleeve bearings are sometimes marketed as bushings, plain bearings, or journal bearings. No matter what name they go by, their purpose and design is the same.

When to Use Sleeve Bearings

Of all bearing types, sleeve bearings are one of the more affordable options. They’re also easier to maintain and install. Choose sleeve bearings for any application in which you want to reduce noise, friction, and vibration in a cost-effective manner.

Sleeve bearings differ from ball bearings in that they have a higher load capacity thanks to their larger contact area. While the force exerted on a ball bearing is applied to the single point where the bearing is in contact with a surface, sleeve bearings are wider, giving them increased shock load resistance and capacity.

Sleeve Bearing Design

There are a few different sleeve bearing designs to choose from, each suited to different applications. The most common types of sleeve bearings are flanged sleeve bearings and cylindrical sleeve bearings. Cylindrical bearings are exactly what they sound like––straight cylinders with the same diameters throughout and flush inside the housing. A flanged sleeve bearing is a cylinder with a flange at the end. This provides a bearing surface for axial loads.

Learn More About Atlas Bronze Sleeve Bearings

To learn more about ordering high-quality sleeve bearings from Atlas Bronze, contact us at 1-800-478-0887. Our sales team offers customers unparalleled support and knowledge, and we’re committed to working with you to find the best products to suit your needs.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Should I Choose Bronze or Brass for My Application?

Our customers use bronze and brass for many different purposes. Whether it's industrial uses like parts for factories and machinery or consumer goods like jewelry and home appliances, you want to make an educated decision about which alloy is best for your application.

Bronze is typically made with a combination of copper and aluminum, tin, or magnesium, while brass uses copper as the base, which is then combined with zinc. But other than the metals used to make these alloys, what is the difference between brass and bronze?

Here's what to consider when deciding between bronze or brass for your application.


One of the first factors to think about is the strength you need for your application. For industrial purposes, like machinery, you will likely want to choose a stronger alloy. If you're fabricating pieces for consumer use, strength may not be as important as other factors like appearance and resistance to corrosion. When brass and bronze are cold worked, their tensile strength increases; you can also increase the tensile strength of brass by adding a higher percentage of zinc.

The tensile strength of brass is 53 Ksi (365 Mpa) when annealed and 88 Ksi (607 Mpa) when cold-rolled tempered. When annealed, phosphor bronze has a tensile strength of 50 Ksi (345 Mpa), while cold-rolled tempered brass comes in at 92 Ksi (635 Mpa).

Another important question to ask is what you're going to be doing with the alloy you purchase. Will it need to be formed? How will it be worked? When it comes to brass, the percentage of zinc present in the alloy impacts its formability. A lower amount of zinc gives brass good hot working capabilities, but makes it harder to cold work. On the other hand, with a higher amount of zinc, brass is more ductile when worked at room temperature.
Corrosion and Wear

Durability and resistance to corrosion are two other factors to think about. If your alloy will be used in water or in a humid environment, tin brass is an excellent choice. For a material that resists both wear and corrosion, we suggest aluminum bronze cast alloys or silicon bronze.

For industrial applications, you may need to find an alloy that conducts electrical currents or thermal heat. In this case, you should evaluate the material’s International Annealed Copper Standard, or IACS, value for conductivity. A higher number means higher conductivity.

When you are using an alloy to manufacture consumer goods, you will want to think about appearance as well as the other factors discussed above. What do you want the end-product to look like? Brass comes in a range of colors, from yellows to reds, while bronze is available in white, rich browns, and shades of gold. When treated with chemicals or heat, you can obtain a patina too, which may be desirable for jewelry and sculptures.

Talk to Our Brass and Bronze Experts

Before making any decision, it's best to consult with an expert. Our skilled metallurgists can help you choose the right alloy for your application. Give us a call at 1-800-478-0887.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

How Brass Is Made

An alloy of copper and zinc, brass is typically a muted gold color, though this may be affected by the amount of zinc in the alloy. It is often confused with bronze, which is an alloy of copper and tin. Brass is reasonably hard, strong, and malleable. It is an excellent heat conductor and imparts excellent acoustic properties to musical instruments. Brass is somewhat corrosion resistant, and it can be made more so through the addition of iron, silicon, aluminum, and/or manganese to the alloy.

Besides musical instruments, brass is often used for piping and tubing, architectural trim, boat hardware, screws, and such low-friction applications as zippers, gears, doorknobs and locks, valves, and ammunition. It is not prone to sparking, making it an excellent choice for tools and fittings that will be used around explosive gases.

The Manufacturing Process

Brass stock is available in a variety of different forms, depending on the final product that will be made. For example, brass pipes and tubes are made by extruding rectangular billets of hot brass through a die, while brass screws are cut from a piece of brass rod. Therefore, the exact manufacturing process will vary depending on the form of brass stock that is being created. Still, the majority of the process is the same until the final steps.

Steps to Manufacturing Brass Sheet

Brass sheet is a flat, rectangular piece of brass that can be cut into strips. It is a very common raw material, and its manufacturing process is an excellent representation of how all brass is made:

Step 1 – Melting: The first step is to melt the copper alloy at a temperature of approximately 1050 C. Additional zinc may be added to account for vaporization during melting. If other materials will be included, such as iron or manganese, they are added in this step.

Step 2 – Molding: The molten metal is then poured into molds measuring 8 inches x 18 inches x 10 feet and cooled into cakes.

Step 3 – Storage: The cooled cakes are removed from the molds and stored near the rolling area until needed.

Step 4 - Reheating: The cake is reheated in a furnace to the appropriate temperature, which will vary based on the desired final properties of the brass stock.

Step 5 - Hot rolling: The heated cake is fed through opposing steel rollers to increase its width and reduce its thickness to 0.5 inch or less.

Step 6 – Scalping: A milling machine known as a scalper removes a thin slice from each outer face of the brass to remove oxides that developed from exposure to the air while the brass was hot.

Step 7 – Annealing: In a process known as annealing, the brass is reheated in a furnace filled with nitrogen or another neutral gas to restore ductility, or the ability to stretch. The exact temperature varies, but it is much lower than the original reheating temperature.

Step 8 – Cold rolling: The brass is fed through another set of rollers, reducing its thickness to approximately 0.1 inch. This cold rolling process increases hardness and strength by deforming the grain, or internal structure, of the brass.

Steps 7 and 8 may be repeated one or more times to achieve the desired final properties.

Optional Steps

Step 9 – Stripping: If desired, the brass sheet may be passed through a cutting machine to create strips. Each strip is typically cleaned in an acid bath and then rinsed.

Step 10 – Finish rolling: The brass sheet or strip may be cold rolled once more to tighten tolerances and improve the smoothness of the surface.

Ready to Start?

Atlas Bronze is a leading U.S. distributor of bronze, copper, brass, iron, and more. Contact us today at 1-800-478-0887 to place an order or learn about our custom products.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

How Bronze Is Made

Have you ever thought about how bronze is made? Or maybe you didn't even know it was made at all--maybe you thought it was an element, like silver or gold, and mined directly from the earth. It's a common misconception, but nope: like steel and brass, bronze is an alloy, which is a combination of two or more metals or non-metallic elements. Alloys are superior to pure metals because not only are they stronger, but they can also be more resistant to corrosion.

What Is Bronze Made From?

Now you know that bronze is a metal alloy made from a mixture of elements. But which elements are used to make bronze? We're glad you asked--we’re the experts in bronze products and we love to share our knowledge with our customers!

Bronze is most often made from copper and tin. Typically, modern bronze is made with 88% copper and 12% tin. That said, the exact composition can vary and other elements can be combined with copper to create bronze as well: zinc, lead, nickel, and aluminum are not uncommon when it comes to creating bronze alloys. Different combinations of elements are used for different purposes--bronze made with copper, lead, and tin, for example, is often used for architectural applications.

Who First Made Bronze?

You've undoubtedly heard of the Bronze Age before; indeed, the discovery of bronze marked an important milestone in human history. The creation of bronze allowed tools, weapons, and armor to be stronger than when they were made with stone and pure metals. The earliest bronze we can find is from Iran and dates back to the 5th millennium BC. Other early bronze artifacts have been found in Serbia, Egypt, China, India, and Iraq.

Bronze Creation Process

We can only guess how bronze was first discovered, but we do know how it was made during the Bronze Age: tin and copper were heated and mixed to form liquid bronze and then this liquid was poured into molds to create weapons, armor, tiles, and tools.

While the equipment used to make modern bronze in foundries is a little more advanced now, the basic process is the same, with copper and tin (or another metal) being melted in a large furnace and then cast into molds. Here at Atlas Bronze, we use three different types of casting: sand casting, centrifugal casting, and continuous casting.

Uses For Bronze

As we've already discussed, bronze was initially used for weapons like arrowheads and knives, tools, and decorative tiles. Bronze has historically been used to create coins, sculptures, and mirrors. In modern times, bronze is used to make musical instruments, bearings, boat fittings and propellers, electrical contacts, and some tools. Because bronze is a metal alloy, its strength and resistance to corrosion make it ideal for these purposes.

Where to Purchase High-Quality Bronze Plates, Castings and Forgings?

Atlas Bronze is a leading distributor of bronze forgings, plates, and castings in the United States. Contact us today if you need bronze parts for your business. You can also find out more about our wrought and copper alloys on our website or give us a call at 1-800-478-0887.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Copper Alloys Rainbow

          Here at Atlas, we are no strangers to hearing a customer call up and say "I have a piece of material here and I'm not sure what it is.  It's sort of a gold-ish yellow color".  There are many alloys that can fall under that description which could make it hard to figure out what exact alloy it is, so unless the material gets tested, we have our work cut out for us!

          As I was browsing around the Internet, I came across a great website that had the perfect list and descriptions of what I like to call...the copper alloys rainbow.  Its helpful sometimes because even though you have your perfect color in mind, it might not be the right material you need to use for your application.  Your desired color may not be available in the alloy or shape that you require.

          I can't take credit for the wonderful information below, but let me tell you it is very helpful and just too good not to share.  Please, if you have the time, visit Trust'll thank me for it later.

The 40 Copper Alloys
These are images
of the actual metal
 Forms in which the alloy is regularly available in the USA

UNS Identification number Name, as it's known in the USA
(use both when specifying the metal)
Size ranges for each of
the forms of the alloy regularly available in the USA
These are all "Copper". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C10100    Oxy-free Copper
C10200    Oxy-free Copper
C11000    Copper
C12200    Phosphorus Copper
C14500    Tellurium Copper
C18200    Chromium Copper
C18700    Leaded Copper
3 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
ft. bars
ft. tubes
20 ft. pipes
24 in. wide coils
These are all "Beryllium Copper". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C17200    Beryllium Copper
C17300    Beryllium Copper
C17510    Beryllium Copper
3 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
ft. bars
12 in. wide coil
C21000    Gilding 12" wide coils
These are all "Commercial Bronze". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C22000    Commercial Bronze
C31400    Leaded Commercial Bronze
C31600    Leaded Commercial Bronze
3 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
ft. bars
12 in. wide coils

These are both "Red Brass". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C23000    Red Brass
C32000    Leaded Red Brass
12 ft. tubes and pipes
12 in. wide coils

C24000    Low Brass 3 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
12 in. wide coils
C26000    Cartridge Brass 3 ft. x 8 ft. sheets, 12 ft. bars
ft. tubes and pipes
12 in. wide coils
These are all "Yellow Brass". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C26800    Yellow Brass
C27000    Yellow Brass
C27200    Yellow Brass
C27400    Yellow Brass
12 ft. tubes
These are all "Muntz Metal". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C28000    Muntz Metal
C36500    Leaded Muntz Metal
C37000    Free Cutting Muntz Metal
4 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
These are Both "Low Leaded Brass". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C33000    Low Leaded Brass
C33500    Low Leaded Brass
12 ft. tubes
C34500    Leaded Brass 12 ft. bars
C35300    High Leaded Brass 2 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
ft. bars
12 in. wide coils
C35600    Engravers Brass 1 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
2 ft. x 4 ft. sheets
  C36000    Free Cutting Brass 12 ft. bars,
These are both "Architectural Bronze". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C38000    Architectural Bronze
C38500    Architectural Bronze
16 ft. lengths for all shapes
C44300    Admiralty Metal 26 ft. tubes
These are all "Naval Brass". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C46400    Naval Brass
C48200    Medium Leaded Naval Brass
C48500    Leaded Naval Brass
4 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
ft. bars

C51000    Phosphor Bronze - A 1 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
ft. bars
12 in. and 24 in. wide coils
C52100    Phosphor Bronze - C 12 in. and 16 in. wide coils
C54400    Phosphor Bronze B-2 12 ft. bars
These are both "Aluminum Bronze 7%". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C61300    Aluminum Bronze 7%
C61400    Aluminum Bronze 7%
3 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
ft. bars

C62300    Aluminum Bronze 9% 12 ft. bars
C62400    Aluminum Bronze 10-1/2% 12 ft. bars
C62500    Aluminum Bronze 13% 12 ft. bars
C63000   Nickel Aluminum Bronze 10% 12 ft. bars
C64200    Silicon Aluminum Bronze 12 ft. bars
C65100    Low Silicon Bronze B 6 ft. bars
ft. tubes
C65500    High Silicon Bronze A 2 ft. x 8 ft. & 4 ft. x 8 ft. sheets
ft. bars,
12 in and
16 in. wide coils
C67300    Leaded Silicon
               Manganese Brass
12 ft. bars
C67410    Silicon Manganese
               Aluminum Brass
12 ft. bars
These are both "Manganese Bronze". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C67500    Manganese Bronze
C67600    Manganese Bronze
12 ft. bars
Copper Nickels
C70600    Copper Nickel 10% 4ft. x 10ft. &  5ft. x 20ft. sheets
ft. bars
ft. tubes and pipes
C71500    Copper Nickel 30% 4 ft. x 10 ft. sheets, 12 ft. bars,
ft. tubes and pipes,
12 in. wide coils
Nickel Silvers
These are both "Nickel Silver 18%". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C75200    Nickel Silver 18% (65-18)
C77000    Nickel Silver 18% (65-18)
1 ft. x 8 ft. sheets,
12 in. wide coils

These are both "Nickel Silver 12%". Specify the form you want, and accept from this group the alloy in which it is available.
C76200    Nickel Silver 12% (56-12)
C79200    Nickel Silver 12% (56-12)
12 ft. bars,
12 in. wide coils

C79800    Leaded Nickel Silver 10% 8 in. x 8 ft. sheets,
ft. bars,
ft. channels
Continuous Cast Bronzes
C86300    Manganese Bronze 12 ft. bars,
ft. tubes
C90700    Tin Bronze 10 ft. bars
C93200    High Leaded Tin Bronze 12 ft. bars,
ft. tubes
C95400    Aluminum Bronze 12 ft. bars,
ft. tubes