Red Metal: The Origin of Bronze Bars and Brass Channels


Copper is one of the few naturally occurring metals prized for their many valuable properties. With an atomic number of 29 and belonging to the “transition metal” group, it is strong, lustrous, and a good conductor of heat and electricity. Copper has high melting and boiling points, and an elegant reddish brown color and sheen, too. It’s no wonder copper is one of the most extensively used metals in the world.


There are no known records detailing the discovery of copper, but archeological finds are littered with tools and decorative items made of copper. These artifacts date back as early as 9000 B.C. so copper was already widely utilized millennia before other metals had been unearthed. Surely, early copper materials are nothing like the copper materials of today, simply because they were mined and worked using primitive techniques, but they exhibited similar characteristics. Read more from this blog:


Bronze Bars, Sheets, and Tubes—What Type of Bronze Do You Need?

Ever since its discovery some 7000 years ago, bronze has maintained its reputation as one of the most valuable and most extensively used metals. It has come a long way from being merely the base material for ancient armors and cutlery to being the very nuts and bolts that hold structures together.

It is important to understand that bronze is no longer the typical alloy of copper and tin. With advances in technology, more versions of bronze have emerged, allowing it to be used for many more vital applications. Here are the most common types of bronze that you can find on the market today.


Architectural Bronze

Bronze is prized for its legendary antique color and shade, especially when sufficiently exposed to the elements. These unique characteristics make it a good material for architectural and structural elements, such as door and window frames, elevator sills, handles, railings, and balusters among many others. Because of the nature of their purpose in a structure, most of them exposed to heavy traffic and handling, they are designed to have high copper content to improve their corrosion resistance.

Manganese Bronze

Manganese is added to the mixture of copper and tin, along with other important elements, to improve bronze’s tensile strength or the ability to resist pulling force. The resulting alloy—manganese bronze—is perfect for applications that involve countering huge levels of tension. Specifically, this type of bronze is what most valves, pump parts, gears, nuts and bolts, and even non-spark tools and parts are made of. They are often produced through casting, forging, or extrusion.

Aluminum Bronze

While bronze is already highly resistant to corrosion, there are situations in which its corrosion resistance isn’t enough. For instance, situations where it has to be exposed to seawater, oil, or petroleum. These substances may have an even harsher effect on bronze than water so understandably, bronze’s qualities have to be improved as well. By adding aluminum, bronze can be resistant not just to tap water but also to saltwater, which is known for being ten times for corrosive.

Phosphor Bronze

Adding a little bit of phosphorus to the original copper-tin mixture gives bronze incredible strength, durability, high fatigue resistance, and a low coefficient of friction. Such properties are critical to applications where continues motion and sliding of surfaces are involved. For this reason, phosphor bronze is often used for making electrical components, washers, springs, and bellows to name a few.

Regardless of the type of bronze you are looking for, you can find the highest quality supplies if you go to a fully established metal supplier, especially one that specializes in copper, brass, and bronze bars, sheets, and tubes like Rotax Metals. Discuss the specific materials you need and they will present you with the options that suit your budget and needs.




The Types of Industrial-Grade Metal Alloys Made from Bronze Bars

The metal industry has been booming since metals were introduced into the constriction process. Thanks technological advances, metal manufacturing has become a lucrative business. Pure and recycled bronze bars are processed into complex bronze alloys to expand their uses.

The secret to bronze’s versatility is the variation in metal composition. These are some of the most common alloys created from bronze that have a significant impact on the metal industry:


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Properties that Make Bronze Bars and Sheets Sought-After Materials

When man learned that metals can be mixed together to form stronger and more durable materials, they began searching for the perfect combination, and never stopped for the next 7000 years. The first metals they tried to combine were copper and tin. The resulting metal—bronze—turned out to be so popular an entire era was named after it. Until now, metallurgists are still experimenting on copper-tin alloy to produce strong and durable bronzes. Here are some other facts about bronze that might interest you.


It Contains Other Metals Apart from Copper and Tin

In the past, almost all bronzes contain only copper and tin. When metalworkers realized adding other metals can improve its properties, the original copper-tin mix became obsolete. In fact, you can hardly find bronze materials these days that do not have extra elements in them, such as aluminum, manganese, nickel or zinc. Sometimes, non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or silicon are also added.

You may wonder why it’s still called bronze despite the presence of other elements. Well, that’s because only a miniscule amount of those elements are added. Most bronzes still contain about 86 percent copper and 12 percent tin. The remaining 2 percent consists of the additional elements. The properties and quality of bronze depend greatly on its tin content.

It Has Amazing Properties

There’s more to bronze than its rustic beauty. It has a set of properties that are useful for myriads of applications. Bronze is both ductile and malleable. This means it can be hammer into thin sheets or drawn into wires. It also exhibits low friction against other metals, which is why it is ideal for making machine bearings. When solidifying from a liquid state, bronze expands a small amount, a property that is considered desirable in sculpture casting, particularly in filling a mold.

Aside from being low-friction, bronze also does not generate sparks when stroke against a hard surface. Such property is particularly useful for applications that involve the use of flammable substances. Special types of bronze are also resistant to saltwater corrosion. These bronzes are used for making propellers and other ship parts that are constantly exposed to seawater.

Good Oxidation

Oxidation is the most formidable enemy of most metals, especially the ferrous ones. When exposed to moisture, the molecules of these metals combine with oxygen to form another substance. In most cases, these substance is rust. Bronze, however, reacts differently. Instead of forming rust, it develops a greenish layer of material called patina. This layer serves as a protection to the metal, allowing it to last for thousands of years.

Apart from giving protection, patina is also responsible for giving bronze its distinctive antique appearance. A lot of people would pay high price for a beautifully patinated bronze item. In fact, there are actual methods that speed up patination to achieve the most desirable look of bronze.

When looking for bronze items, it is best to go to a trusted supplier like Rotax Metals. Don’t settle for anything less than high-quality bronze bars and sheets for your project. You should also be careful when choosing a type of bronze to ensure that it suits your project’s specifications.


About Rotax Metals: When it comes to metals, no other supplier can meet your specifications than Rotax Metals. We are a one-stop shop for high-grade copper, brass, and bronze supplies in North America. Whether you are an artisan, an architect, or a metal supplier yourself, we are your best source of materials. Let us help you make your project successful. Get in touch with us today and we will be more than glad to assist you.



Few Interesting Facts Of Bronze,

What Is Bronze? Definition, Composition and Properties,

Everything You Need to Know about Aluminum Bronze Bars and Sheets

Aluminum is among the most widely used metals on the planet, not only because it is abundant (constituting about eight percent of the Earth’s land mass), but more importantly because it has many useful properties. While aluminum is typically utilized in its pure form, it can also be safely alloyed with other metals to form stronger and more valuable materials.

One of the popular metals that aluminum is usually alloyed with is bronze. For decades, aluminum bronze has been an indispensable alloy utilized for a range of construction and industrial uses. Adding aluminum to the original tin-copper mixture elevates the potential of regular bronze bars and sheets, making them stronger and more durable.


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Bronze Bars and Other Metals Play an Important Role in Architecture

Some Examples of Using Bronze Bars and Other Metals in Architecture

The business of building things is no simple matter. Lives and livelihood are all literally depending on these structures to be strong, ergonomic, and safe. This is why it is absolutely crucial that those working in related industries, such as construction and architecture, pay very close attention to the kinds of material they use for their work.

There are different kinds of material that can be used for this purpose, including wood. In terms of modern buildings, however, metal now reigns supreme as a foundational material.

The Preference for Metal

Builders and designers look to metals because of their strength and durability. Additionally, most metals are ductile and malleable, able to take on various shapes and sizes. They can be made into tubes and sheets, for example, and even bronze bars, to take on specific uses in various applications. Read more from this article:

Environmental Corrosion Risks to Outdoor Structures Made of Bronze Bars


Although bronze bars and other copper alloys are highly valued by artisans and architects for their decent resistance against corrosion, they can still be subject to tarnishing and discoloration. This is especially true for copper-based metals placed outdoors and are constantly exposed. Common types of bronze like architectural bronze, commercial bronze and statuary bronze, for instance, have particularly poor resistance against some elements found naturally in urban settings. Under such conditions, a bronze structure will deteriorate gradually over long periods of time.


If you want your bronze craft to retain its distinctive appeal and hold up against corrosion, you need to be aware of some environmental risks they could face. Be sure to take precautions against these problems.


Urban Pollution


Heavily populated cities have a high concentration of pollutants, especially sulfur compounds, in the atmosphere. With continuous exposure, you can expect bronze to corrode at higher rates. It usually begins with the appearance of patches of light green on horizontal surfaces where rains and water run-off flow through. Over time, the effect spreads over the entire surface, making the metallic construction appear bright green instead of reddish gold.


Bird Droppings


Bird droppings, as well as other animal droppings, are virtually unavoidable for fixed outdoor structures. They not only obscure the appearance and message of your installation, but they unfortunately also tend to be highly acidic in nature. When they accumulate on the surface, they accelerate localized corrosion and deterioration. The bronze will start to turn darker, and without applying special cleaning procedures, the metal will eventually take on a light green color.


Plant Debris


Decaying plant debris such as leaves, cones, needles, twigs, bark, seeds and flowers may create quite a beautiful scene during autumn, but they can cause considerable damage to bronze. This is because the ammonia produced naturally when plants die can darken the metal. In fact, ammonia in chemical form is used by many metal workers to produce an artificial patination on copper, brass and bronze.


The good news is that you can protect bronze statues or architectural structures by applying coating systems and coating additives. Some great examples of basic coatings include nitrocellulose, acrylic, epoxy, silicone, alkyd, urethane, cellulose acetate butyrate, vinyl and polyvinyl fluoride film. Coating systems can make bronze much more resilient against humidity, pollution, sunlight, abrasion, and the regular wear and tear.


Note that coatings differ in terms of resistance they offer against certain elements. It is therefore ideal to ask suppliers, such as Rotax Metals, whether finishes were already applied to the raw material. This way, you can determine if applying coatings or additives to bronze is necessary. Remember as well that protective coatings need to be reapplied once they wear off to preserve bronze.


About Rotax Metals


Founded by Ronald Rosenthal in 1947, Rotax Metals is now a renowned supplier of high quality copper, brass, and bronze products for a variety of industries. We offer an extensive inventory as well as special services. As a family-owned business, we make it our mission to provide great customer service while we assist you with all your metal needs.




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