New on the Padilla Designs blog is a series called “Featured Materials”, dedicated to sharing what we love about the fascinating raw materials that come through our studio on a regular basis. We regularly work with copper, brass, bronze, stainless steel, aluminum, cor-ten steel, a variety of high-end hardwoods, and enjoy teaching our clients about the wonders of these natural elements and how they can be used in our artistic fabrication process
Interesting fact: The first coins used in Ancient Rome were actually lumps of bronze called Aes Rude. The heavier your lump was, the more valuable it was.
Brass and Bronze are copper alloys with the addition of tin and zinc. Brass is mainly an alloy consisting of copper with zinc added to it. Increased amounts of zinc provide the material with more strength and ductability making it harder and stronger than pure copper. Bronze is an alloy that consists mainly of copper with the addition of other ingredients. Most often the added material is tin, but arsenic, phosphorus, aluminum, manganese, and silicon can also be added to create an array of different properties in the material. Padilla Designs uses these alloys where we need strength and durability such as gate frames and hand railings.
The natural colors of brass and bronze range from a bright yellow to a light brown, depending on the mixture of elements in the alloy. This material can be used for different design elements. Our team often uses a mixture of copper and brass in our designs to create contrast throughout the piece.
Brass and bronze will naturally patina with age and develop a rich layer of organic protection. This makes the materials incredibly durable and desirable for outdoor and corrosive environments. We will often add chemicals that will act as a catalysts for the patina process. In this way we can naturally create and enhance the patina colors that usually form over decades.
To learn more about bronze, visit our friends at Zahner.