Bronze

Bronze

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Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, usually with tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

 as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 was named after the metal. However, since "bronze" is a somewhat imprecise term, and historical pieces have variable compositions, in particular with an unclear boundary with brass
Brass
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin...

, modern museum and scholarly descriptions of older objects increasingly use the more cautious and inclusive term "copper alloy" instead.

The word Bronze is believed to be cognate with the and , perhaps ultimately taken from the Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 word for brass, birinj; or possibly from the Latin name of the city of Brindisi
Brindisi
Brindisi is a city in the Apulia region of Italy, the capital of the province of Brindisi, off the coast of the Adriatic Sea.Historically, the city has played an important role in commerce and culture, due to its position on the Italian Peninsula and its natural port on the Adriatic Sea. The city...

 (aes Brundusinum—Pliny).

History


The discovery of bronze enabled people to create metal objects which were better than previously possible. Tools, weapons, armor, and various building material
Building material
Building material is any material which is used for a construction purpose. Many naturally occurring substances, such as clay, sand, wood and rocks, even twigs and leaves have been used to construct buildings. Apart from naturally occurring materials, many man-made products are in use, some more...

s, like decorative tiles, made of bronze were harder and more durable than their stone and copper ("Chalcolithic") predecessors. Initially bronze was made out of copper and arsenic
Arsenic
Arsenic is a chemical element with the symbol As, atomic number 33 and relative atomic mass 74.92. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.Arsenic is a metalloid...

 to form arsenic bronze. It was only later that tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

 was used, becoming the sole type of bronze in the late 3rd millennium BC. Tin bronze was superior to arsenic bronze in that the alloying process itself could more easily be controlled (as tin was available as a metal) and the alloy was stronger and easier to cast. Also, unlike arsenic
Arsenic poisoning
Arsenic poisoning is a medical condition caused by increased levels of the element arsenic in the body. Arsenic interferes with cellular longevity by allosteric inhibition of an essential metabolic enzyme...

, tin is not toxic.

The earliest tin-alloy bronzes date to the late 4th millennium BC in Susa
Susa
Susa was an ancient city of the Elamite, Persian and Parthian empires of Iran. It is located in the lower Zagros Mountains about east of the Tigris River, between the Karkheh and Dez Rivers....

 (Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

) and some ancient sites in China, Luristan (Iran) and Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 (Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

).

Copper and tin ore
Ore
An ore is a type of rock that contains minerals with important elements including metals. The ores are extracted through mining; these are then refined to extract the valuable element....

s are rarely found together (exceptions include one ancient site in Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 and one in Iran), so serious bronze work has always involved trade. In Europe, the major source for tin was Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

's deposits of ore in Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

, which were traded as far as Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

 in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Though bronze is generally harder than wrought iron
Wrought iron
thumb|The [[Eiffel tower]] is constructed from [[puddle iron]], a form of wrought ironWrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon...

, with Vickers hardness
Vickers hardness test
The Vickers hardness test was developed in 1924 by Smith and Sandland at Vickers Ltd as an alternative to the Brinell method to measure the hardness of materials. The Vickers test is often easier to use than other hardness tests since the required calculations are independent of the size of the...

 of 60–258 vs. 30–80, the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 gave way to the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

; this happened because iron was easier to find and easier to process. Bronze was still used during the Iron Age, for example officers in the Roman army had bronze swords while foot soldiers had iron, but, for many purposes, the weaker wrought iron was found to be sufficiently strong. Archaeologists suspect that a serious disruption of the tin trade precipitated the transition. The population migrations around 1200–1100 BC reduced the shipping of tin around the Mediterranean (and from Great Britain), limiting supplies and raising prices. As ironworking improved, iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 became cheaper; and as cultures advanced from wrought iron to forged iron, they learned how to make steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

, which is stronger than bronze and holds a sharper edge longer.

Composition


There are many different bronze alloys but modern bronze is typically 88% copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 and 12% tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

. Alpha bronze consists of the alpha solid solution
Solid solution
A solid solution is a solid-state solution of one or more solutes in a solvent. Such a mixture is considered a solution rather than a compound when the crystal structure of the solvent remains unchanged by addition of the solutes, and when the mixture remains in a single homogeneous phase...

 of tin in copper. Alpha bronze alloys of 4–5% tin are used to make coin
Coin
A coin is a piece of hard material that is standardized in weight, is produced in large quantities in order to facilitate trade, and primarily can be used as a legal tender token for commerce in the designated country, region, or territory....

s, springs
Spring (device)
A spring is an elastic object used to store mechanical energy. Springs are usually made out of spring steel. Small springs can be wound from pre-hardened stock, while larger ones are made from annealed steel and hardened after fabrication...

, turbine
Turbine
A turbine is a rotary engine that extracts energy from a fluid flow and converts it into useful work.The simplest turbines have one moving part, a rotor assembly, which is a shaft or drum with blades attached. Moving fluid acts on the blades, or the blades react to the flow, so that they move and...

s and blade
Blade
A blade is that portion of a tool, weapon, or machine with a cutting edge and/or a pointed tip that is designed to cut and/or puncture, stab, slash, chop, slice, thrust, or scrape animate or inanimate surfaces or materials...

s. Historical "bronzes" are highly variable in composition, as most metalworkers probably used whatever scrap was to hand; the metal of the 12th century English Gloucester Candlestick
Gloucester candlestick
The Gloucester Candlestick is an elaborately decorated English Romanesque gilt-bronze candlestick, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It was made for Gloucester Cathedral between 1104 and 1113.-Description:...

 is bronze containing a mixture of copper, zinc, tin, lead, nickel, iron, antimony, arsenic with an unusually large amount of silver - between 22.5% in the base and 5.76% in the pan below the candle. The proportions of this mixture may suggest that the candlestick was made from a hoard of old coins. The Benin Bronzes
Benin Bronzes
The Benin Bronzes are a collection of more than 3000 brass plaques from the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin . They were seized by a British force in the Punitive Expedition of 1897 and given to the British Foreign Office...

 are really brass, and the Romanesque
Romanesque art
Romanesque art refers to the art of Western Europe from approximately 1000 AD to the rise of the Gothic style in the 13th century, or later, depending on region. The preceding period is increasingly known as the Pre-Romanesque...

 Baptismal font at St Bartholomew's Church, Liège is described as both bronze and brass.

Commercial bronze (90% copper and 10% zinc) and Architectural bronze (57% Copper, 3% Lead, 40% Zinc) are more properly regarded as brass
Brass
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin...

 alloys because they contain zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 as the main alloying ingredient. They are commonly used in architectural applications.

Bismuth bronze
Bismuth bronze
Bismuth bronze is a bronze alloy that is very corrosion-resistant. This property makes it suitable for use in environments such as the ocean. Bismuth bronze's composition varies slightly, depending on the purpose for which the it is to be used, but in all cases, the proportion of bismuth to bronze...

 is a bronze alloy with a composition of 52% copper, 30% nickel, 12% zinc, 5% lead, 1% bismuth. It is able to hold a good polish and so is sometimes used in light reflectors and mirrors.

Other bronze alloys include aluminium bronze
Aluminium bronze
Aluminium bronze is a type of bronze in which aluminium is the main alloying metal added to copper, in contrast to standard bronze or brass...

, phosphor bronze
Phosphor bronze
Phosphor bronze is an alloy of copper with 3.5 to 10% of tin and a significant phosphorus content of up to 1%. The phosphorus is added as deoxidizing agent during melting....

, manganese bronze, bell metal
Bell metal
Bell metal is a hard alloy used for making bells. It is a form of bronze, usually approximately 4:1 ratio of copper to tin...

, arsenical bronze
Arsenical bronze
Arsenical bronze is an alloy in which arsenic is added to copper as opposed to, or in addition to other constituent metals. The use of arsenic with copper, either as the secondary constituent or with another component such as tin, results in a stronger final product and better casting...

, speculum metal
Speculum metal
Speculum metal is a mixture of around two-thirds copper and one-third tin making a white brittle alloy that can be polished to make a highly reflective surface. It is used primarily to make different kinds of mirrors including early reflecting telescope optical mirrors...

 and cymbal alloys
Cymbal alloys
Cymbals are made from four main alloys, all of them copper-based. These are: bell bronze, malleable bronze, brass and nickel silver.-Bell bronze:Bell bronze, also known as bell metal, is the traditional alloy used for fine cymbals, many gongs and, as the name suggests, bells.It is normally stated...

.

Properties


Bronze is considerably less brittle
Brittle
A material is brittle if, when subjected to stress, it breaks without significant deformation . Brittle materials absorb relatively little energy prior to fracture, even those of high strength. Breaking is often accompanied by a snapping sound. Brittle materials include most ceramics and glasses ...

 than iron. Typically bronze only oxidizes superficially; once a copper oxide (eventually becoming copper carbonate) layer is formed, the underlying metal is protected from further corrosion. However, if copper chlorides are formed, a corrosion-mode called "bronze disease" will eventually completely destroy it. Copper-based alloy
Alloy
An alloy is a mixture or metallic solid solution composed of two or more elements. Complete solid solution alloys give single solid phase microstructure, while partial solutions give two or more phases that may or may not be homogeneous in distribution, depending on thermal history...

s have lower melting point
Melting point
The melting point of a solid is the temperature at which it changes state from solid to liquid. At the melting point the solid and liquid phase exist in equilibrium. The melting point of a substance depends on pressure and is usually specified at standard atmospheric pressure...

s than steel or iron, and are more readily produced from their constituent metals. They are generally about 10 percent heavier than steel, although alloys using aluminum or silicon
Silicon
Silicon is a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. A tetravalent metalloid, it is less reactive than its chemical analog carbon, the nonmetal directly above it in the periodic table, but more reactive than germanium, the metalloid directly below it in the table...

 may be slightly less dense. Bronzes are softer and weaker than steel—bronze springs
Spring (device)
A spring is an elastic object used to store mechanical energy. Springs are usually made out of spring steel. Small springs can be wound from pre-hardened stock, while larger ones are made from annealed steel and hardened after fabrication...

, for example, are less stiff (and so store less energy) for the same bulk. Bronze resists corrosion
Corrosion
Corrosion is the disintegration of an engineered material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings. In the most common use of the word, this means electrochemical oxidation of metals in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen...

 (especially seawater corrosion) and metal fatigue
Metal Fatigue
Metal Fatigue , is a futuristic science fiction, real-time strategy computer game developed by Zono Incorporated and published by Psygnosis and TalonSoft .-Plot:...

 more than steel and is also a better conductor of heat and electricity than most steels. The cost of copper-base alloys is generally higher than that of steels but lower than that of nickel
Nickel
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

-base alloys.

Copper and its alloys have a huge variety of uses that reflect their versatile physical, mechanical, and chemical properties
Chemical property
A chemical property is any of a material's properties that becomes evident during a chemical reaction; that is, any quality that can be established only by changing a substance's chemical identity...

. Some common examples are the high electrical conductivity of pure copper, the excellent deep drawing
Deep drawing
Deep drawing is a sheet metal forming process in which a sheet metal blank is radially drawn into a forming die by the mechanical action of a punch. It is thus a shape transformation process with material retention. The process is considered "deep" drawing when the depth of the drawn part exceeds...

 qualities of cartridge case brass, the low-friction properties of bearing bronze, the resonant qualities of bell bronze, and the resistance to corrosion by sea water of several bronze alloys.

The melting point of Bronze varies depending on the actual ratio of the alloy components and is about 950 °C (1,742 °F).

Bronze is nonmagnetic.

Uses


Bronze was especially suitable for use in boat and ship fittings prior to the wide employment of stainless steel
Stainless steel
In metallurgy, stainless steel, also known as inox steel or inox from French "inoxydable", is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5 or 11% chromium content by mass....

 owing to its combination of toughness and resistance to salt water corrosion. Bronze is still commonly used in ship propellers and submerged bearings.

In the twentieth century, silicon
Silicon
Silicon is a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. A tetravalent metalloid, it is less reactive than its chemical analog carbon, the nonmetal directly above it in the periodic table, but more reactive than germanium, the metalloid directly below it in the table...

 was introduced as the primary alloying element, creating an alloy with wide application in industry and the major form used in contemporary statuary. Sculptors may prefer silicon bronze because of the ready availability of silicon bronze brazing rod, which allows color-matched repair of defects in castings. Aluminum is also used for the structural metal aluminum bronze.

It is also widely used for cast bronze sculpture
Bronze sculpture
Bronze is the most popular metal for cast metal sculptures; a cast bronze sculpture is often called simply a "bronze".Common bronze alloys have the unusual and desirable property of expanding slightly just before they set, thus filling the finest details of a mold. Then, as the bronze cools, it...

. Many common bronze alloys have the unusual and very desirable property of expanding slightly just before they set, thus filling in the finest details of a mold
Molding (process)
Molding or moulding is the process of manufacturing by shaping pliable raw material using a rigid frame or model called a pattern....

. Bronze parts are tough
Toughness
In materials science and metallurgy, toughness is the ability of a material to absorb energy and plastically deform without fracturing; Material toughness is defined as the amount of energy per volume that a material can absorb before rupturing...

 and typically used for bearings
Bearing (mechanical)
A bearing is a device to allow constrained relative motion between two or more parts, typically rotation or linear movement. Bearings may be classified broadly according to the motions they allow and according to their principle of operation as well as by the directions of applied loads they can...

, clips, electrical connector
Electrical connector
An electrical connector is an electro-mechanical device for joining electrical circuits as an interface using a mechanical assembly. The connection may be temporary, as for portable equipment, require a tool for assembly and removal, or serve as a permanent electrical joint between two wires or...

s and springs
Spring (device)
A spring is an elastic object used to store mechanical energy. Springs are usually made out of spring steel. Small springs can be wound from pre-hardened stock, while larger ones are made from annealed steel and hardened after fabrication...

.

Spring bronze weatherstripping
Weatherstripping
Weatherstripping is the process of sealing openings such as doors, windows, and trunks from the elements, or the materials used to carry out such sealing process. The goal of weatherstripping is to prevent rain and water from entering by either blocking it outright or by blocking most of it and...

 comes in rolls of thin sheets and is nailed or stapled to wood windows and doors. There are two types, flat and v-strip. It has been used for hundreds of years because it has low friction, seals well and is long lasting. It is used in building restoration
Building restoration
Building restoration describes a particular treatment approach and philosophy within the field of architectural conservation. According the U.S...

 and custom construction.

Bronze also has very low metal-on-metal friction
Friction
Friction is the force resisting the relative motion of solid surfaces, fluid layers, and/or material elements sliding against each other. There are several types of friction:...

, which made it invaluable for the building of cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

 where iron cannonballs would otherwise stick in the barrel. It is still widely used today for springs, bearings, bushings, automobile transmission pilot bearings, and similar fittings, and is particularly common in the bearings of small electric motor
Electric motor
An electric motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.Most electric motors operate through the interaction of magnetic fields and current-carrying conductors to generate force...

s. Phosphor bronze
Phosphor bronze
Phosphor bronze is an alloy of copper with 3.5 to 10% of tin and a significant phosphorus content of up to 1%. The phosphorus is added as deoxidizing agent during melting....

 is particularly suited to precision-grade bearings and springs. It is also used in guitar and piano strings.

Unlike steel, bronze struck against a hard surface will not generate sparks, so it (along with beryllium copper
Beryllium copper
Beryllium copper , also known as copper beryllium, beryllium bronze and spring copper, is a copper alloy with 0.5—3% beryllium and sometimes with other alloying elements. Beryllium copper combines high strength with non-magnetic and non-sparking qualities. It has excellent metalworking, forming...

) is used to make hammer
Hammer
A hammer is a tool meant to deliver an impact to an object. The most common uses are for driving nails, fitting parts, forging metal and breaking up objects. Hammers are often designed for a specific purpose, and vary widely in their shape and structure. The usual features are a handle and a head,...

s, mallet
Mallet
A mallet is a kind of hammer, usually of rubber,or sometimes wood smaller than a maul or beetle and usually with a relatively large head.-Tools:Tool mallets come in different types, the most common of which are:...

s, wrench
Wrench
A wrench or spanner is a tool used to provide grip and mechanical advantage in applying torque to turn objects—usually rotary fasteners, such as nuts and bolts—or keep them from turning....

es and other durable tools to be used in explosive atmospheres or in the presence of flammable vapors.

Bronze is used to make bronze wool
Bronze wool
Bronze wool is a bundle of very fine bronze filaments, used in finishing and repair work to polish wood or metal objects. Bronze wool is similar to steel wool, but is used in its place to avoid some problems associated with broken filaments: steel rusts quickly, especially in a marine environment...

 for woodworking applications where steel wool
Steel wool
Steel wool, also known as wire wool, is a bundle of strands of very fine soft steel filaments, used in finishing and repairing work to polish wood or metal objects, and for cleaning household cookware....

 would discolor oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

.

Bronze statues



Indian Hindu artisans from the period of the Chola empire
Chola Dynasty
The Chola dynasty was a Tamil dynasty which was one of the longest-ruling in some parts of southern India. The earliest datable references to this Tamil dynasty are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BC left by Asoka, of Maurya Empire; the dynasty continued to govern over varying territory until...

 in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

, used bronze to create intricate statues via the lost wax casting
Lost wax casting
Lost-wax casting sometimes called by the French name of cire perdue is the process by which a metal sculpture is cast from an artist's sculpture. Intricate works can be achieved by this method, primarily depending on the carver's skills...

 method with ornate detailing depicting the Gods of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 mostly, but also the lifestyle of the period. The art form survives to this day, with many silpis, craftsmen, working in the areas of Swamimalai
Swamimalai
Swamimalai is a panchayat town near Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It lies on the banks of river Cauvery, on the road connecting Kumbakonam and Thiruvaiyaru. It is most famous for the being one of the six "Padai Veedugal" of the Lord Murugan. The name of the...

 and Chennai
Chennai
Chennai , formerly known as Madras or Madarasapatinam , is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the fourth most populous metropolitan area and the sixth most populous city in India...

.

In antiquity other cultures also produced works of high art
High culture
High culture is a term, now used in a number of different ways in academic discourse, whose most common meaning is the set of cultural products, mainly in the arts, held in the highest esteem by a culture...

 using bronze. For example: in Africa, the bronze heads of the Kingdom of Benin
Benin Empire
The Benin Empire was a pre-colonial African state in what is now modern Nigeria. It is not to be confused with the modern-day country called Benin, formerly called Dahomey.-Origin:...

; in Europe, Grecian bronzes typically of figures from Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

; in east Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

, Chinese bronzes of the Shang
Shang Dynasty
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty, after the Xia. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper" in the Yellow River valley...

 and Zhou dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...

 — more often ceremonial vessels but including some figurine examples.

Bronze continues into modern times as one of the materials of choice for monumental statuary.

Musical instruments


Bronze is the most popular metal for top-quality bell
Bell (instrument)
A bell is a simple sound-making device. The bell is a percussion instrument and an idiophone. Its form is usually a hollow, cup-shaped object, which resonates upon being struck...

s, particularly bell metal
Bell metal
Bell metal is a hard alloy used for making bells. It is a form of bronze, usually approximately 4:1 ratio of copper to tin...

, which is about 23% tin.

Nearly all professional cymbal
Cymbal
Cymbals are a common percussion instrument. Cymbals consist of thin, normally round plates of various alloys; see cymbal making for a discussion of their manufacture. The greater majority of cymbals are of indefinite pitch, although small disc-shaped cymbals based on ancient designs sound a...

s are made from a bronze alloy. The alloy used in drum kit cymbal bronze is unique in the desired balance of durability and timbre
Timbre
In music, timbre is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, such as string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the...

.

Modern cymbals consist of several types of bronze, the most common being B20 bronze, which is roughly 20% tin, 80% copper, with traces of silver. Zildjian and Sabian use this alloy for their professional lines. A Swiss company, Paiste
Paiste
Paiste, a Swiss manufacturer and designer, is the world's third largest manufacturer of cymbals, gongs, and metal percussion. Paiste is an Estonian/Finnish word which means "shine"...

, uses a softer B8 bronze which is made from 8% tin and 92% copper in nearly all of their cymbals. Zildjian and Sabian use this metal too, in their budget priced cymbals.

As the tin content in a bell or cymbal rises, the timbre drops. As well as B8 and B20, Meinl Percussion
Meinl Percussion
Roland Meinl Percussion is a leading manufacturer of cymbals and other percussion instruments, based in Gutenstetten, Germany. Their main brand is Meinl.Founded in 1951 by Roland Meinl...

 uses B10 (10% tin) and B12 (12% tin) alloys for cymbals, which have timbres roughly between B8 and B20.

Bronze is also used for the windings of steel strings of various stringed instruments
String instrument
A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...

 such as the double bass
Double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

, piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

, harpsichord
Harpsichord
A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It produces sound by plucking a string when a key is pressed.In the narrow sense, "harpsichord" designates only the large wing-shaped instruments in which the strings are perpendicular to the keyboard...

, and the guitar
Guitar
The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

, replacing former gut and nylon strings. Bronze strings are commonly reserved on pianoforte for the lower pitch tones, as they possess a superior sustain quality to that of high-tensile steel.

Bronzes of various metallurgical properties are widely used in struck idiophones around the world, notably in South East Asia, and most famously for the Javanese gamelan
Gamelan
A gamelan is a musical ensemble from Indonesia, typically from the islands of Bali or Java, featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings. Vocalists may also be included....

 and other glockenspiel
Glockenspiel
A glockenspiel is a percussion instrument composed of a set of tuned keys arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano. In this way, it is similar to the xylophone; however, the xylophone's bars are made of wood, while the glockenspiel's are metal plates or tubes, and making it a metallophone...

-like musical instrument
Musical instrument
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...

s. The earliest bronze archeological finds in Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 date from 1–2 BCE, including flat plates probably suspended and struck by a wooden or bone mallet.

Some companies are now making saxophone
Saxophone
The saxophone is a conical-bore transposing musical instrument that is a member of the woodwind family. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. The saxophone was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1846...

s from phosphor bronze
Phosphor bronze
Phosphor bronze is an alloy of copper with 3.5 to 10% of tin and a significant phosphorus content of up to 1%. The phosphorus is added as deoxidizing agent during melting....

 (3.5 to 10% tin and up to 1% phosphorus content).

Medals




Bronze has been used in the manufacture of various types of medal
Medal
A medal, or medallion, is generally a circular object that has been sculpted, molded, cast, struck, stamped, or some way rendered with an insignia, portrait, or other artistic rendering. A medal may be awarded to a person or organization as a form of recognition for athletic, military, scientific,...

s for centuries, and are known in contemporary times for being awarded to the second-runner up in sporting competitions and other events. The later usage was in part attributed to the choices of Gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, Silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 and Bronze to represent the first three Ages of Man
Ages of Man
The Ages of Man are the stages of human existence on the Earth according to Greek mythology. Two classical authors in particular offer accounts of the successive ages of mankind, which tend to progress from an original, long-gone age in which humans enjoyed a nearly divine existence to the current...

 in Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

: the Golden Age
Golden Age
The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology and legend and refers to the first in a sequence of four or five Ages of Man, in which the Golden Age is first, followed in sequence, by the Silver, Bronze, and Iron Ages, and then the present, a period of decline...

, when men lived among the gods; the Silver age
Silver age
A silver age is a name often given to a particular period within a history, typically as a lesser and later successor to a golden age, the metal silver generally being valuable, but less so than gold.-Greek myth:...

, where youth lasted a hundred years; and the Bronze Age, the era of heroes, and was first adopted at the 1904 Summer Olympics
1904 Summer Olympics
The 1904 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the III Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States from 1 July 1904, to November 23, 1904, at what is now known as Francis Field on the campus of Washington University...

. At the 1896 event, silver was awarded to winners and bronze to runners-up, while at 1900 other prizes were given, not medals.

See also



  • List of copper alloys
  • Art object
  • Bronze medal
    Bronze medal
    A bronze medal is a medal awarded to the third place finisher of contests such as the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, etc. The practice of awarding bronze third place medals began at the 1904 Olympic Games in St...

  • Bronze sculpture
    Bronze sculpture
    Bronze is the most popular metal for cast metal sculptures; a cast bronze sculpture is often called simply a "bronze".Common bronze alloys have the unusual and desirable property of expanding slightly just before they set, thus filling the finest details of a mold. Then, as the bronze cools, it...

  • Bronzing
    Bronzing
    Bronzing is a process by which a bronze-like surface is applied to other materials . Some bronzing processes are merely simulated finishes applied to existing metal surfaces, or coatings of powdered metal that give the appearance of a solid metal surface...

  • Chinese bronze inscriptions‎
  • French Empire mantel clock
    French Empire mantel clock
    A French Empire-style mantel clock, is a type of elaborately decorated mantel clock made in France over the Napoleonic Empire between 1804–1814/15, although the clocks manufactured throughout the Bourbon Restoration are also included within this art movement because they share subject, decorative...

  • Seagram Building
    Seagram Building
    The Seagram Building is a skyscraper, located at 375 Park Avenue, between 52nd Street and 53rd Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. It was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, in collaboration with Philip Johnson. Severud Associates were the structural engineering consultants. The building...

  • DZR Dezincification Resistant Brass
  • UNS C69100

External links