Brief History of Bronze
Properties of Bronze
Like some other core building materials, bronze is an alloy. It consists mainly of copper, but by combining it with other metals it produces an alloy that is much harder than simple copper. Architectural bronze is generally 57% copper, 40% zinc, and 3% lead. It is often regarded as a brass alloy because it contains zinc as the primary alloying ingredient.
While the decorative uses for bronze are nearly unlimited, it is often used in door frames, window casements, store fronts, and various forms of decorative tiles. Because it has become such a prized metal over the centuries, bronze is usually used to make small items meant to accent the décor and add a touch of refinement rather than in large quantities.
In its natural state, or “raw”, bronze is salmon coloured, but it is rarely ever seen in this condition. As it ages, bronze goes through a continuous process of corrosion and oxidation that turn it anywhere from dark brown to lime green in colour. This layer of oxidation is call the patina and is desirable in some instances. The stages of oxidation or corrosion can vary depending on such things as the composition, exposure to the elements, and what materials are adjacent to the bronze.
In many cases when architectural bronze is used, the highly polished or “raw” look is desirable and is achieved by coating the core materials with clear lacquer or frequent oiling or polishing of the material.
Making use of bronze in the design of your home or structure is not only an long lasting investment, but the aesthetic value that it adds to any project is undeniable.