Aluminum bronze is a type of copper alloy in which the primary alloying material applied to the copper is aluminum. This is in comparison to traditional bronze or brass, where tin and zinc are the alloying components, respectively. Aluminum improves copper by providing oxidation resistance in the form of a small, closely adhering film of aluminum oxide. To further improve strength or anti-corrosive properties, certain metals such as manganese, copper, silicon, and iron can be applied to the bronze aluminum.
The method of manufacturing aluminum bronze is close to the processes used by other copper alloys. First, heat up the copper portion to a specified temperature. Once the copper is in its molten state, specified quantities of aluminum are added in addition to other alloy elements, depending on the type of alloy you want.
Categories of Aluminum Bronze Alloys
Numerous forms of aluminum bronze are classified in the Universal Numbering Scheme (UNS), established by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). These alloys differ primarily in terms of the amount of primary element (aluminum) and the number of secondary elements alloyed with the copper.
The different forms of bronze in aluminum are identified in the UNS using reference numbers from C95200 to C95800. C95200 aluminum bronze, for example, includes 8.5 to 9.5 per cent aluminum by weight, while C95300 comprises 9.0 to 11.0 per cent
While varieties of bronze alloys of aluminum are usable, they can all be grouped into four key types:
- Low alloy single-phase alloys — Such alloys produce less than 8% aluminum and have outstanding cold ductility properties, rendering them suitable for cold tubing, plates, sheets and wires.
- Moderately alloyed, two-phase (duplex) alloys — These alloys include 8 to 11 percent aluminum with minimal quantities of other elements incorporated for enhanced strength properties. Such fabrics are ideal for applications in hot working environments. The casting of aluminum bronze is also a common method of working such alloys.
- Copper-aluminum-silicon alloys, or bronzes with silicon-aluminum — These alloys include up to 6% aluminum and 2% silicone. As with other bronzes, these products have weak magnetic permeability and excellent shock and vibration resistance.
- Copper-manganese-aluminum alloys or manganese-aluminum bronzes — Unlike other aluminum bronzes, manganese is the main alloy ingredient by weight (about 13%) in such materials, whereas aluminum accounts for around 8% to 9%. Though these alloys do not have the same strength properties as the other forms, they have excellent impingement, cavitation and wear resistance.
Uses of Bronze Alloy
The aluminum bronze is used in a broad variety of applications due to its favorable mechanical properties, excellent corrosion tolerance, and good casting ability and machinability. Such standard implementations include:
It is imbued with exceptional corrosion resistance in marine environments by the oxide film produced by aluminum bronze The material’s tolerance to wear and corrosion also allows it ideal for impellers, propellers and other maritime equipment.
Water Treatment Industries
The corrosion resistance of aluminum bronze may be a great value to components used in water treatment and service industries where corrosion is still a major concern.
Oil and Gas industries
Bronze aluminum is also known for its non-sparking qualities. This characteristic is especially useful for parts and components that are used in the oil and gas industry, where the ambient environment can contain explosive or ignitable material, vapor or dust.
Specialized Corrosive Resisting Applications
This alloy may often be used in violent, corrosive conditions which would normally be unacceptable for other copper alloys like brass. Bronze aluminum is also biofouling resistant in saline waters.
The amazing properties of bronze aluminum make it capable of withstanding heavy loads, shock and vibrational load. This makes the material ideal for bridge bearings and base insulating systems in seismic retrofitting buildings.
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