Bronze vs. Copper

what does bronze vs copper?

what does bronze vs copper?

Bronze Vs. Copper has been a topic of debate for decades. They are some of the most used metals in our day-to-day life. Because of their so many amazing features, they are used in a diversified range of industries. Both the metals are useful for multiple purposes, and it is very hard to decide which one is better for use in comparison with the other. It might be surprising to you that Bronze is actually an alloy of Copper. It has a lot of properties of copper and is basically manipulated with tin. 

In this article, we will talk about the different properties of these metals, and on the other hand, we will also compare the basics that make the metals so different and unique from each other. 

What is Bronze?

To compare Bronze and Copper, one must know all about the basics of these metals. Bronze is a basic alloy of copper and tin, but there are many filler particles added to the metals to boost their properties. The alloy was developed in 3500 BC, and during the time of discovery of the alloy, the exact chemistry was not known. Some of the best fillers include lead, nickel, zinc, and even antimony. All such materials improve the overall quality of the alloy and make the elemental composition better. Bronze appears to be reddish-brown in general. It produces minimal friction when it gets in contact with other metals. 

Copper is not an alloy and is basically a native metal that is found in a free metallic state in nature. The extraction of copper from mineral ores has been used for ages. Today copper is very easily used in wide applications due to its soft, durable, and efficient structure. It is also used in building different conductors of heat, electricity, and metallic alloys. The bronze alloy is reddish-brown in color. 

In the next section, we will compare Bronze with Copper. 

These are some of the prominent differences between the two. 

  • Elemental Composition

    The Elemental Composition of Bronze makes it stronger than copper. Copper is a non-ferrous transition metal that can easily exist in free states. Bronze cannot occur naturally, and it is combined in a special way to make it better for usage. The composition of Bronze can depend on the basis of fillers included. Some of the best-known metals are-

    • Nickel (Ni)
    • Aluminum
    • Lead (Pb)
    • Antimony
    • Phosphorus (P)
    • Silicon (Si)
    • Sulfur (S)
    • Cobalt
    • Chromium
    • Zinc
  • Corrosion resistance

    One of the best ways to compare Bronze with copper is by comparing its corrosion resistance. The bronze alloy can easily get oxidized, which might be very problematic. On the other hand, pure copper can be resistant to such a change. Such a reactivity of the copper makes a special protective layer known as a mottled patina which further ends the oxidizing reaction. When Bronze comes in contact with different chlorine compounds, the copper content inside the alloy can degrade and eventually fade away with time. This is also called the bronze disease. Hence both the materials have good corrosion resistance, but Bronze being more reactive, can form a better layer that resists corrosion.

  • Conductivity of electricity

    When current is passed over a metal, a certain quantity of current flows on the metallic surface. The measure of this current is known as the electrical conductivity of the metal. Copper is said to be hundred percent conductive, and it is one of the best materials used in electrical appliances to conduct electricity without any resistance. On the other hand, Bronze is less conductive, and it has a conductivity of only 15% of the copper. Hence it makes the electrical conductivity of Bronze to be very low. 

  • Thermal conductivity

    Another big difference that can help in differentiating Bronze from copper is the thermal conductivity of the materials. Thermal conductivity is the ability of the metal or the alloy to be used in thermal applications. The amount of energy and the rate at which this energy is being transferred is calculated to see the thermal conductivity. Most of the alloys have a thermal conductivity that increases with a certain rise in temperature, while if the temperature increases, the thermal conductivity of metal almost remains the same. Hence to sum it up, we can say that Bronze has a high thermal conductivity as compared to copper. 

  • Melting point

    The melting point of a metal or an alloy is something very crucial to be considered because if the material is going to be used in a machine where the conditions will expose it to a higher temperature than its melting point, the device will get hampered. To talk about the data, pure copper has a higher melting point than Bronze which makes it a good metal to be used in different machines. If one considers the formability of these materials, then we can say that Bronze is a better alloy to be used due to its low melting point. 

  • Hardness

    The hardness of any material is basically the resistance given by that material to any plastic deformation. To check the hardness, indentation from a force is provided on the flat surface of the metal on the alloy. The pure copper metal is restricted to a very small number of 35 as per the Brinell hardness scale. But on the other hand, Bronze is a very strong material, and it ranges up to 420 Brinell hardness numbers depending on the filler particles added with the alloy. Hence one can say that Bronze is a brittle material, and it is more prone to fracture than copper. 

  • Weight of the material

    The actual weight of the material also plays a very crucial role in determining the success of the installment of the material in different devices. In modern-day appliances and machines, lightweight material is a better choice than a heavy material. Therefore Bronze is the preferred material here. The density of the bronze alloy is also good; hence it is light in weight, and on the other hand, it can resist reasonable force.

  • Durability

    Comparing the durability of both these materials is important. Depending on the durability of the material, the maintenance, renewability, and acceptability could easily be defined. If your material is not very durable and you use it in a complicated device that is going to take a lot of loads, the entire machine can fracture, which wouldn’t be a very beneficial thing. With the special addition of filler particles, the bronze alloy becomes more durable, but on the other hand, copper is more flexible. Depending upon your need and use of the metal in the machine, one can choose between copper metal and bronze alloy. 

  • Machinability

    It is the property of the material that helps us to find out the reaction of the materials to machining stress. Such stress can include milling, turning, and even more. Bronze is a very hard alloy, and according to the study, it is not easily flexible. Hence the machinability of Bronze is also good, but on the other hand, the light, flexible copper is pretty much ductile, which is also something to look out for while deciding the machinability. Hence to conclude one can use either copper alloy or pure copper to get good machinability by the chosen material.

  • Formability

    The formability of a material is its ability to exhibit special plastic deformation without getting damaged by the force which caused the deformation. Bronze is not very formable, but on the other hand, these days, there are special sensitive bronze compounds that can have good formability. 

  • Welding property

    Welding is a process in which two pieces of metal are joined together using a piece of special MIG equipment. Both Bronze and copper are easily weldable, but on the other hand, unleaded Bronze can easily break under the lowest grade of stress. Copper stands up to the situation, and one can use the metal to get highly resistant welding. Welding is a very important thing to be considered before choosing a metal for a machine. It is one of the essential steps that help in repairing and building the machine. Hence one cannot ignore such property while choosing the metal for application. 

  • The Yield strength

    The yield strength of a material is the stress at which a pre-calculated quantity of defamation happens on such material. Bronze has a very high yield strength when compared to copper. With a good yield strength, it can resist a good amount of stress. The Yield strength ranges from 69.0 – 800 MPa. 

  • Tensile strength

    While selecting a material these days, one has to go through the tensile strength of the material in order to inspect the force that can be tolerated by the material. Bronze is one of the best choices when it comes to materials with good tensile strength. Copper, on the other hand, is not that great in tolerating such stress; which further decreases its tensile strength. 

  • Colour

    It might be very difficult to compare the color of these two metals as the color might change according to the manufacturer. But on the other hand, Bronze is often seen with a characteristic reddish-brown color. Sometimes this looks like dull gold. While on the other hand, fresh copper material looks like pinkish Orange in color.

  • Price

    The price of both these materials differs according to the grades and the quality of the material being used in making them. Especially if we talk of Bronze, the price of the alloy is basically attributed to the quality of metals that are fused together to make the alloy. Copper is also extracted from different grades of mineral ores and ions, and hence its price also changes with the quality.

The usage of bronze alloy

bronze

Bronze is a very complex alloy and has been used for various applications. It has been used in different musical and electrical instruments. On the other hand, it is also used very frequently in decorative items. One of the best properties of Bronze is its excellent resistance which makes it a very good material for manufacturing rough and tough daily use items. It is also being used in many industries and even in many machines. Bronze has a good hardness and durability, which makes the material long-lasting. Even in ancient times, the Bronze was used for making sculptures. One can witness sculptures even in the current period. 

Depending upon the properties of the alloy, Bronze has been classified as different types as mentioned below-

  • Manganese bronze

    It is one of the most commonly used Bronzes in different industries and has good strength as well as corrosion resistance. It is basically very efficient to construct agricultural equipment and more.

  • Tin bronze

    The tin bronze is basically known for its resistance to corrosion even after exposing it to very harsh conditions such as seawater. It is easily machinable and is considered to be one of the best grades of Bronze.

  • Aluminum bronze

    According to the data, it is the toughest non-ferrous alloy that is available out there in the market. It is extremely hard and has an excellent thermal resistance. One can easily use Aluminum bronze in the process of welding. 

The usage of copper

Copper is a very pure metal, but somehow it lacks in strength and corrosion resistance when compared to other metals. Besides, it has excellent electrical and thermal conductivity, which makes it perfect for manufacturing wires and cables. According to the data, copper wires can easily transmit one hundred percent of the electricity through them, and hence this metal is widely used in this industry. Even the transmission done by the copper wires is found to be extremely good. It is also used in electronic and other such devices. One of the places where it is extensively used is in electrical motors. 

How to tell the difference between Bronze and copper?

Comparing both the metal can be very confusing, and it might be very tricky to differentiate between them. The best way to differentiate between copper and Bronze is to look out for the color. Copper has a reddish-brown color which is often seen after you remove the oxidized layer; on the other hand, the dull gold color is an identification mark for Bronze. 

Conclusion

Above in the article, we have tried to compare Bronze vs. copper. Bronze is also an alloy of copper, and hence it has many properties similar to the base metal. Both of these are great with their unique properties and could be used easily in different sectors.

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