bronze, in metallurgy, alloy of copper, tin, zinc, phosphorus, and sometimes small amounts of other elements. Bronzes are harder than brasses. Most are produced by melting the copper and adding the desired amounts of tin, zinc, and other substances. The properties of the alloy depend on the proportions of its components. Aluminum bronze has high strength and resists corrosion; it is used for bearings, valve seats, and machine parts. Leaded bronze, containing from 10% to 29% lead, is cast into heavy–duty bushings and bearings. Silicon bronze is used for telegraph wires and chemical containers. Phosphor bronze is used for springs. Bronze is used for coins, medals, steam fittings, and gunmetal and was formerly employed for cannon. Because of its particularly sonorous quality, bell metal, containing from 20% to 24% tin, is used for casting bells. Bronze has long been used in art, e.g., for castings, engravings, and forgings.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Metallurgy and Mining: Terms and Concepts