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Bronze is an alloy made of copper and some other metal, where the added metal can be aluminium , nickel, beryllium or tin, even if often the term bronze is understood as a copper-tin alloy.

This alloy mainly composed of copper, is enriched with tin up to an 8-9% giving place to alloys with good mechanical characteristics and great resistance to corrosion:  these alloys are still plastic workable and can be coated, extruded, forged, pressed and drawn.  By further increasing the amount of tin, hardness can reach such levels as to allow only pieces obtained through fusion, also called castings.

At an industrial level, bronze can be produced with up to a 30% of tin.  The balance diagram copper-tin is rather complicated.

Generally, different types of bronze always contain added elements other than tin:

  • Phosphorus disoxidizes and increases hardness; in phosphorus bronze there is a content of  0,4-0,8%.

  • Lead is added in amounts from 1 al 5%. It remains confined in the edges of grains making it easier for machinery work.  If instead, the percentage of lead reaches very high levels ( from 10 to 30%) such alloy presents a particular friction behavior, for this reason it is used for bearings

  • Zinc is used as disoxidizing.

  • Beryllium is added to increase hardness.

Bronze is used in the following:

  • Bearings and bushings

  • gear wheels

  • High pressure hydraulic equipment

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