Brass vs. Bronze as Tooling Materials: What are the Differences?

August 12, 2020

Most manufacturing industries use tooling products as part of their daily processes. These tools are intended to cut, remove, or any other actions that will be applied to certain areas in a workpiece before proceeding to the next steps of their whole fabricating process. One factor that affects their quality is the material used in creating them.

You see, tooling products must be harder and more durable than the workpiece so they can easily perform their functionalities. They must also resist wear, shock, and other elements that can damage them. Tooling products with low coefficient of friction can likewise prolong their service life since the heat generated will be much lower. Likewise, any undesirable effects or reactions between the tooling product and the workpiece can be easily avoided if they have chemical stability or inertness.

All the needed properties of a tooling product can be obtained with the right material. To date, there are two materials that can be used in creating tooling products. These materials are brass and bronze.

Brass Tooling Materials

Brass is an alloy that is mainly comprised of copper and zinc. Other additional elements like arsenic, lead, iron, silicon, manganese, and aluminium can be added to brass to effectively enhance its corrosion resistance, machinability, and other mechanical properties. If the brass has high proportions of copper, then it will obtain higher electrical conductivity. Alternatively, the strength, ductility, and hot-working abilities of the brass are improved if it has a huge amount of zinc.

Brass has a bright to muted gold, copper, or silver colour. The malleability and ductility of brass are greater than bronze, allowing it to obtain a high level of formability that can help manufacture tooling materials. One downside, though, is that it has a lower melting point.

Tooling materials that are made from brass are durable and can easily resist freshwater and saltwater corrosion. They are also great for conducting heat and expelling microbes due to their high copper content. They are, however, weak against certain strong compounds. And as the zinc content of the brass wears down, the porous copper components of this material may eventually lead to corrosion. When applied with excessive stress, brass tooling materials may crack unexpectedly.

Bronze Tooling Materials

Bronze is also an alloy that has huge amounts of copper and tin. This specific material is typically combined with elements like arsenic, phosphorus, aluminium, manganese, and silicon, which can all boost the properties of the material and make it harder than copper. The faint rings on the surface of the bronze, as well as its dull-gold colour, make it distinctive to brass.

Bronze has a high melting point of 950 degrees Celsius, making it possible to be fabricated into great tooling products. It also exhibits low metal-to-metal friction, which is also a great advantage if it will be used in generating tooling materials. This material can also become stiffer, more ductile, more malleable, and possess higher machinability compared to brass.

Tooling materials out of bronze are exemplary. All the elements found in bronze can make them strong and hard. Bronze tooling materials can even withstand extremely high pressure and resist water corrosion. The low metal-to-metal friction of bronze tooling materials makes them usable under high-stress environments. They can also be exposed to any high-temperature and electrical applications because of their excellent heat and electrical conductivity.

Both brass and bronze can be utilised in making tooling materials. For more information about these materials, just give us a call at Gunna Engineering.

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