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brass suppliers

Architectural Brass Angle—Why Is Brass So Popular in the Construction Industry?

Throughout history, copper alloys, particularly brass, have played a key role in the formation and realization of imaginative ideas by renowned architects from all over the world. There’s not a single major construction project that doesn’t make use of brass, be it for security hardware and ironmongery or for decorative and protective finishes. It has never lost its place in any blueprint, dominating details that complete architectural work.

It’s not difficult to understand why brass is a staple material in architecture. Here are some of the distinctive properties that brass is prized for:

  • Outstanding Color and Texture – With the right mixture of copper, zinc, and other additives, you can produce brass that looks stunning and perfectly matches practically any architectural design. It can even come with a shade that rivals gold, which makes it a cheap yet amazing alternative to the expensive metal. When properly buffed, it will accept a mirror-like polish that lasts months on end.
  • High Corrosion Resistance – Like other copper alloys, brass doesn’t rust. It tarnishes but it doesn’t develop patina too easily as well. Top copper suppliers like Rotax Metals even offer architectural brass angle and bar products that retain gloss for a long time without the need for regular polishing.
  • Malleable and Ductile – Brass is a very flexible material. It can be produced into rod, profile, tube, plate, sheet, foil, and even wire. Something that you cannot do with most other metals. Simply put, brass materials can be used for a broader range of architectural applications, easily topping other common construction materials like steel and aluminum.
  • Ultra-Workable – Thanks to its high malleability and ductility, brass also boasts of unparalleled workability. It can be cast, extruded, rolled, drawn, or even hot stamped more quickly than other metals. It also has excellent machining qualities, making it well-suited for manufacturing detailed machined parts.
  • Doesn’t Degrade When Exposed to Sunlight – Undoubtedly, the sun is the most powerful force of nature. It can damage anything exposed to its ravaging UV rays for a long period of time. As it turns out, not everything is vulnerable to UV rays. Brass, for instance, does not degrade even after being left under the sun for too long. It won’t even soften or expand in temperatures lower than 200 degrees. When placed in a sub-zero environment, it won’t become brittle either.

With all these amazing properties, there’s no doubt that brass can perform well as an architectural material. In fact, it is so extensively used for this application that certain grades of brass are already classified as architectural. Meaning, they are being produced solely for architectural purposes. Specifically, here are some architectural elements that are best made of brass.

Door Knobs and Locks

Your door knobs and locks are some of the fixtures you don’t expect to replace throughout the life of your home. Therefore, they have to be made from a material that can last for decades and won’t easily break, especially because it plays a major role in your home’s security. Brass offers more than just longevity. It also has fine tolerances in machining and allows for smooth operation of moving parts. Some say brass is ideally suited for the production of all kinds of security hardware and ironmongery.

Handrails

There are two reasons for choosing brass as the main material for all your building’s handrails. One, brass is very easy to extrude, which is how most metal handrails are made. Another, its base metal is copper, which is known for its antibacterial property. Fixtures like handrails that you and your family frequently touch or hold can instantly harbor harmful bacteria. Using an antibacterial metal like brass can help prevent the spread of disease in your home.

Balustrades 

Below the handrails are the balustrades, another special architectural element that appears and performs best when made of brass. Unlike handrails that are usually produced through extrusion, balustrade designs can be cast, formed, or fabricated using brazing and soft soldering techniques. All of these metalworking techniques work effectively when the metal to be worked has the properties of brass.

Decorative and Protective Finishes

Whether you want etched metal or plain plate covering for some of the surfaces in your building for finishing, brass can certainly be the perfect choice. There are modern decorative treatments for toning brass that you can use. You no longer have to stick to only a single tone or shade and try to adjust the rest of the design to match it. Brass can have a range of colors from gold-like yellow, through dull yellows and amber browns, to chocolate brown and black.

Having the right materials is key to the success of your architectural projects. Always check if any of the mentioned elements of your design are made of copper before incorporating them into the structure. Make sure to get them from one of the country’s most trusted brass suppliers, preferably one that specializes in copper alloys, such as Rotax Metals. That way, you will have more options to choose from and you can be sure that the products you will buy are all high-quality.

 

Source:

https://copperalliance.org.uk/resources/pub-089-architectural-brass/.pdf

Understanding Corrosion and Why Copper and Brass Suppliers Are Not Worried about It

Corrosion

Most people believe that the world they live in is a calm and comfortable place. In reality, it is more hostile than they can possibly imagine. Everything on Earth is locked in a constant battle for survival. The environment is so fragile that even the slightest shift in the balance could push life to extinction.

It is only when living things learned to adapt and evolve that the world became less hostile. Yet the fact remains that when the world can no longer support life as we know it, everything will perish and decompose. All that will be left is a barren wasteland with nothing more than dust and rocks.

The famous adage “from dust you came, and to dust you shall return,” is originally addressed to all living things. It pertains to the natural process of decomposition when a carbon-based material loses resistance against the effects of its environment. It turns out that this principle applies to inorganic materials as well. The only difference is that their decomposition takes a lot longer and is influenced by a greater variety of factors. This process is more commonly known as corrosion.

 

Corrosion of Metals

Corrosion takes place when a certain material is placed in an environment where it is chemically unstable. Metals are among the best examples of materials that undergo this process. Despite being tougher and more resilient than most other materials, they have their share of weakness. There are certain chemicals that they don’t react well to. If you’ve seen the film Batman vs. Superman, particularly the part where Batman was able to weaken Superman by exposing him to kryptonite, it works pretty much the same way.

Understanding corrosion is important because it affects the properties for which metals are used in a vast range of applications. By knowing which element in an alloy reacts to which substance, metallurgists can more easily determine the best way to adjust the alloy’s composition to form a more corrosion-resistant material.

Perhaps that most widely held catalyst for corrosion is oxygen because most metals react to it. This has been proven by Antoine Lavoisier, the French chemist who also authored the law of conservation of mass and played a critical role in recognizing oxygen as an element. His experiments revealed that iron, together with all other ferrous metals, reacts to oxygen by forming iron oxide or rust. If not for Lavoisier’s discovery, iron (which makes up most of today’s man-made structures) would have not been utilized for applications where air exposure is involved.

 

Resisting Oxygen-Related Corrosion

Metals that do not contain iron usually resist corrosion with oxygen. The best example of this type of metal is copper and all of its alloys. Instead of forming rust when exposed to oxygen, copper forms a layer of greenish material known as patina. This layer does not affect the interior of the metal and rather encapsulates it to prevent further corrosion.

Alloys of copper, such as brass and bronze, exhibit this property as well. In most cases, they resist corrosion caused by even more potent substances, including saltwater and certain acids. They also hold up to extreme temperatures, which explains why most manufacturers prefer them for making machine parts. It’s no wonder reliable bronze and brass suppliers make so much fortune.

Brass and bronze are alloyed with other metals to form even stronger and more corrosion-resistant metals. Muntz metal, a type of alpha-beta brass, for instance, is used for making cover plating for ships due to its high tolerance to saltwater corrosion. This type of brass resists fouling, too. Another popular example is silicon bronze, which essentially is bronze combined with a little bit of silicon. This metal is almost if not stronger than steel, making it a good material for making pumps and boilers or for applications where the strength of steel is needed but not its weakness to rusting.

 

Other Substances that Can Trigger or Accelerate Corrosion

Oxygen is not the only element that can trigger or accelerate corrosion. In fact, any solid, liquid, or gas substances can cause corrosion depending on the metal exposed to them. Acids (such as sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and hydrochloric acid) and bases (such as sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide) are also notorious for corroding many different types of alloy.

Some metals could also corrode when exposed to dehydrating agents, such as phosphorus pentoxide or calcium oxide; halogens and halogen salts, such as bromine and sodium hypochlorite; organic halides; and acid anhydrides.

 

Using Corrosion to Your Advantage

There’s no denying the destruction corrosion can bring to one’s project. If left unchecked, it can lead to construction failure, consequently endangering people’s lives. However, it does not always have to be viewed negatively. There are certain applications for which it can be beneficial, such as furniture making and metal disposal.

It takes many years for bronze to achieve a kind of patina that gives it an antique look. For those who sell bronze furniture and believe that lost time is lost money, however, waiting that long is outright counterproductive. This is why they resort to a process called patination in which they speed up the formation of patina. It involves controlled exposure of bronze to a certain corrosive substance until the beautiful brown and green color, which usually takes years to produce, emerges in a few days.

Working with metals, especially for projects that require stability and strength among other critical properties, is a high risk. You have to be able to tell which metals corrode to which substances first. It would be better, though, to use metals that you know won’t succumb to corrosion that easily. Why not go to a trusted copper sheet supplier like Rotax Metals and ask what specific types of metal supplies you need. They specialize in all kinds of copper alloy, and so you will definitely find the materials you need and get the value for your money in the end.

 

Sources:

Chemistry of Oxygen (Z=8), chem.libretexts.org
Corrosion, newworldencyclopedia.org
Corrosion 101: What Is Corrosion?, eoncoat.com

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