Brass and bronze has long been used in the art casting and jewelry manufacturing industries. Brass alloys have excellent fluidity and malleability, while bronze alloys are very hard and brittle with low melting points. While we often think of these alloys as having colors ranging from brown to gold or red, there are also white bronze and white brass alloys available. Art casting manufacturers may turn to these alloys when looking to create sculptures, medals and bracelets. When deciding on whether to use white bronze or white brass for art casting work, take the following details into consideration.
White Bronze Properties
White bronze is an alloy containing varying amounts of copper, zinc and tin. It has a color that is similar in appearance as white gold. The alloy is often used as a substitute for nickel, and in certain situations for silver, when cast into jewelry. This alloy has excellent corrosion resistance, making it suitable for outdoor sculptures and artwork exposed to the elements as it will not rust. The metal alloy is also nonmagnetic.
When white bronze is cast, it takes on a very hard and durable quality. It can be polished to create the perfect finishes based on the desired art casting application. The alloy also provides sharp and precise art casting edges. A unique advantage to white bronze is that it can be used for large sculptures where the sculpture is formed by creating smaller pieces and then is later assembled.
One major drawback to white bronze is its higher melting point. White bronze needs temperatures ranging up to 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit to melt. This melting point is due to the amount of tin that is present. It is also more expensive and requires additional casting steps as the white bronze cannot be added directly into a rubber mold. It instead needs to be placed into a ceramic shell during this process.
White Brass Properties
White brass is an alloy that differs greatly from bronze even though it is commonly mistaken for the other alloy. White brass alloys contain copper and zinc with smaller amounts of magnesium, aluminum and lead as it has a silvery appearance. This alloy has great corrosion resistance as well as tear resistance.
White brass is a very fluid alloy. It has a lower melting point of 1,652 degrees Fahrenheit. It is an excellent metal used when crafting smaller pieces of jewelry such as bracelets and rings. When cast and polished, it creates high detailed work that is desired for very intricate art casting pieces. Brass can also be used to create sculptures in smaller sizes.
A disadvantage to white bronze is that it can tarnish without rusting to take on a green patina. While this may be desired for certain art sculptures, this characteristic is usually not desired for smaller figurines and jewelry.
Deciding Between White Bronze or White Brass
When creating art casted pieces, consider the size of the item, the environment and the appearance it should have over a length of time.
White bronze is typically selected for larger art sculptures and art casting applications where several pieces will be made for final assembly. It can also withstand varying environments, including places with an abundance of seawater, due to its corrosion resistance. It can be used in place of white gold due to its appearance.
White brass is chosen for smaller sculptures and pieces of jewelry. It is a suitable replacement for silver and is very fluid when cast. While it also will not rust due to its corrosion resistance, it can tarnish over time as the metal can be cleaned.
Here at Belmont Metals, we have both white bronze and white brass available for art casting. For more information regarding these alloys, contact us today.