If you’re studying different metals, then bronze is an integral one. It has multipurpose uses that shape different structures. But unlike iron or cobalt, bronze does not attract. So, a question might come into your brain: is bronze magnetic?
The short answer is no. Bronze is not magnetic. It is an alloy with non-magnetic properties. You can test for bronze by simply using a magnet. And, you will observe that it doesn’t attract. So, even though it’s non-magnetic, it has many uses in different sectors. These sectors are industry, furniture, and many others.
That’s the long and short of it! But I would advise you to read it till the end. I will talk in detail about the uses of bronze.
Moreover, you should know how to properly test the magnetism of bronze. So, sit tight as I dive deep into the wondrous world of bronze! Keep on reading to learn more about the topic.
Why isn’t Bronze Magnetic?
Bronze isn’t magnetic because of its composition. It is mostly made of copper. Copper inherently doesn’t attract magnets. Since bronze is made up of about 96-97% copper, it is non-magnetic.
Authentic bronze contains 98-99% copper and 2–1% tin. There are other types of bronze as well. Normally, all bronze contains copper and tin, along with a third element. The third element could be iron, nickel, or zinc. They act as a protective film. Hence, bronze doesn’t rust easily.
As mentioned before, there are different types of bronze. The bronze used for architecture has about 55% copper, 40% zinc, and 3% lead.
Then there is commercial bronze, which is mostly copper (about 91%) and a little bit of zinc (about 10%).
The last one is statuary bronze, which is 97% copper and a small percentage of other metals.
So, all the bronze is mostly composed of copper. You might think that bronze can have some iron mixed with it. So, will it attract magnets?
Unfortunately, no, because the percentage of iron is very negligible. Even if you use a strong magnet, chances are it won’t attract. So, that’s why bronze isn’t magnetic.
How Bronze is Tested Using Magnets?
Testing for bronze is quite easy actually. But there is a more professional approach to it. That way, you can confirm that it is bronze. So, make sure to follow these steps properly. Are you ready?
Step 1: Put down several metallic shards or pieces including copper. You can lay down some alloys too. Also, pick your alloys carefully.
Step 2: Use a medium-sized magnet with moderate force. Hover over the metals you put down earlier. You can also use strong ones if necessary.
Step 3: Check which metals attract them and which don’t. Then separate them. You can also put them in two different boxes.
Step 4: If the metal shard is bigger than the magnet you’re using then do this. Keep the metal above the table in your hand. Then put the magnet on the bottom of the metal.
Step 5: Observe what happens. If the magnet resists the gravitational force and attracts the shard, you can confirm that it is not bronze.
Step 6: Measure how much strength and which type of magnet is necessary to pull the metallic objects. Take notes and collect your samples.
See? It’s that quick and simple! But I have an important side note for you here. Here’s a question for you: does bronze have the ability to attract magnets? Yes! It is possible You’ve probably heard of the term electromagnetism, right? That’s the key!
Electromagnets are temporary objects that can create attraction. The general procedure is to coil wires around the bronze piece.
After that, if electricity passes through it, then voila! This closed circuit generates a temporary magnetic field. So, you can use neodymium magnets and observe the attraction of bronze.
Is Bronze Ferromagnetic or Antiferromagnetic?
Under certain conditions, bronze could show some soft ferromagnetic properties. According to research, when a thin coat of bronze is welded onto a non-magnetic surface, it can show a little bit of ferromagnetism.
When laser welding the bronze alloys crystal structure greatly morphs and initiates this uncharacteristic ferromagnetism.
The experiment shows that bronze under laser welding shows ferromagnetism with two sorts of magnetic domains. The thin coating of bronze showed a small value of saturation magnetization and a low coercive force at 300K.
So, it would be safe to say that bronze is not antiferromagnetic. But shows a little bit of ferromagnetism under certain circumstances.
Uses of Bronze’s Non-Magnetic Property
Don’t underestimate bronze just because it can’t attract magnets! It has many uses in industry and in our everyday lives.
There might be countless things that are made of bronze in your house. And you might not even be aware of it! So, without further ado, here are the uses of bronze.
Manufacturing Parts And Components
Bronze is great for manufacturing small and medium parts. Different alloys of bronze are ideal in this regard.
Like aluminum bronze, it has great strength and corrosive-resistant properties. It is perfect for making marine gear, pipes that carry corrosive fluids, and small bearings.
Phosphorous bronze is a mixture of phosphorus and tin. This gives the bronze rigidity. It also reduces corrosion.
Hence, manufacturers make different electrical panels, washers, and bellows from this alloy. Other great bronze alloys include silicon and manganese.
Silicon bronze is used for making pumps and valves. This mixture also contains about 15% zinc, which makes it rust-resistant.
The manganese bronze is heavy-duty. These are used in making ship parts and propellers, levers, light and heavy gears, substitutes for iron, and many types of valves.
Making Musical Instruments
Who doesn’t love music? Nothing beats the sound of a saxophone in the morning. But do you know that bronze is the material for this instrument?
Bronze has been ideal for making musical instruments for a long time now. Hence, you can see them in pianos and guitars as well.
But is the guitar or piano made of bronze? Of course not. I’m talking about the strings! Most of the strings have a bronze alloy. They are a great additive for nylon and steel strings too. So, why bronze?
Because it creates a quality timbre and is quite durable. So, if you need fine performance, accurate tuning, and timbre, then bronze is present in the production.
If you’re a sculptor, you probably use bronze a lot. Sculpting is a tough art. It requires accurate precision and patience. Oh, and the right material! People use different alloys for sculpting. And, bronze is an exquisite one.
As mentioned before, there is a bronze called “statuary bronze.” It is a mixture of mostly copper, and trace amounts of zinc and tin.
This bronze is ideal for sculpting small potteries into beautiful portraits. Why do you ask? Because of its fine grain and casting properties.
Tin gives structure to the bronze, and zinc gives it its corrosion-free property. Hence, this alloy becomes naturally stronger than regular copper. It also remains rust and corrosion-free.
Moreover, bronze has a low melting point (about 1850 degrees F). Hence, it becomes easy to mold the sculptor to your liking quickly and easily!
For Architectural Purposes
Bronze is also great for architectural work. Yes, you heard me! You can find bronze on different internal and external structures of a building. Things like doors, fountains, railings, and entrances have bronze in them. It is a great substitute for iron and works better with iron mixtures!
They are also good for making different designs, medallions, and even plaques. So, the uses are endless in architecture.
The reason for using bronze is the patina. Patina is the layer that bronze naturally forms. This gives a beautiful greenish tint to the roof or design of the construction.
This natural process is known as oxidation. The copper reacts with oxygen (mainly) and creates this tint. Acid rain can also speed up this process. It reacts by creating this layer (patina) to stop itself from further corrosion.
Moreover, it is very pleasing to the eyes! Hence, sometimes artificial lacquer is applied for extra protection and beauty.
For Creating Tools
Bronze is exceptional for making safety tools. These tools can be hammers, pliers, wrenches, and many more. Normally, tools like this are made out of iron. But such metallic materials create sparks while working. You can also get extreme burns thanks to iron, as it is a good conductor of heat.
That’s why bronze is becoming a staple in creating these tools. Sparks and extreme heat will not occur due to the insulating properties of copper. So, you can work peacefully without getting burned or electrocuted.
So, I firmly hope I was able to open your eyes a bit more today! Because you can see bronze almost everywhere. They act as small but important cogs for the grand structure to run smoothly. It is quite impressive if you ask me!
So, in short, is bronze magnetic? Certainly not. This is due to copper, which has non-magnetic properties. But that doesn’t stop bronze from being useful. From creating small bearings, panels, and wires to propellers for ships, sculptors, and internal designs.
So, all in all, I thank you for being patient and reading this far. I would gladly like to see you on our next topic. Till then, stay safe and goodbye!