Bronze is a metal alloy made up of copper, tin, and sometimes an additional metal or nonmetal. Due to its fusibility, it has many industry-related purposes. Aside from this feature, it has historically been a beneficial alloy for various types of military applications. It has been used for defense and protection since the earliest human civilizations, and today its use is still relevant in the US military. Keep reading for some historical and modern-day military applications for bronze alloys.
Bronze was discovered around the mid-4th millennium BC, during a time known as the Bronze Age. This is the time in which many civilizations discovered bronze and applied it to many different uses. It served as a preferable metal to stone and copper, which is what had been used previously.
During this time, bronze was used to create bladed weapons that were cast by what historicists call ‘classic bronze,’ an alloy made up of 10% tin. Bronze was also used in the creation of helmets and armor using ‘mild bronze,’ which is made up of 6% tin. This historical military application lasted until it was replaced by the Iron Age.
Despite this transition thousands of years ago, today’s modern-day military still applies the use of bronze alloys. Typically combined with other metals, bronze still serves as a preferable metal alloy to be used in a wide range of ways. Below are a few examples of the uses of bronze alloys:
Aluminum bronze is used in today’s military applications. There are many features to using aluminum bronze, which is made up of aluminum, copper, nickel, and iron. The strength of this alloy is similar to that of carbon steel. For this reason, it’s a preferable metal for constructing things like ships, tanks, and armored vehicles. Aluminum bronze also has a low magnetic permeability, making it undetectable to any systems that use metal to detect enemies.
Lastly, aluminum bronze is beneficial to use in the construction of submarines. This is due to the fact that it provides a high yield strength, which is what allows these vehicles to travel more than 100 meters down in the ocean. That is the distance a submarine must travel to avoid being detected on a sonar.
Phosphor bronze is another alloy used in military applications. It’s most commonly used for the construction of ship propellers. There are various reasons why this metal is preferred to other alloys in the construction of ship propellers. Below are just a few:
- Malleability and machinability.
- Resistance to saltwater corrosion.
- Easy to maintain and repair.
- Toughness and strength.
Bronze plays an important role in the defense and protection of human lives. This is evidently seen in the different military applications for bronze alloys. Now that you know a bit about its history and modern uses, there are other metals out there such as copper-nickel alloys that also play a large role in our society. If you’re a part of the marine or naval industries, we can provide you with the right alloys for all your metalworking needs here at Diversified Metals.