Ask the Metals Experts


Welcome to the MetalTek Blog.

As your Metals Partner, it is our goal to educate you on various casting processes. Feel free to browse around to learn more but if you have questions or need to submit an RFQ, please contact us. MetalTek International. Because You Demand More Than Metal.

What Is Non-Ferrous Metal?

Posted by Dave Olsen on 11/4/19 3:19 PM

Non-ferrous metals or alloys are materials that are not iron based like their ferrous counterparts. One of the more common groups of non-ferrous materials are copper-based alloys such as bronze and brass. While it is common to use brass and bronze interchangeably, there is a difference.

Brasses are copper-based alloys which have zinc as the principle alloying element. In some cases, small amounts of nickel, aluminum, iron, or silicon may be also present. A good example is C85500 (also known as “60-40 yellow brass”). This alloy contains up to 63% copper, 0.8% aluminum, and around 40% zinc. Since the zinc content is high, the material is classified as brass.

Bronzes are copper-based alloys where the major alloying element is not zinc or nickel. The term bronze is used with a preceding modifier that describes the type of bronze it is, by indicating the major alloying element(s). For example, MTEK 83-7-7-3/C93200 is a high lead tin bronze because it contains 7% tin and 7% lead in addition to 83% copper and 3% zinc. Also, MTEK 175/C95400 is called an aluminum bronze because it is made up of 11% aluminum in addition to 85% copper and 4% iron.

Common bronze families or alloy groups are: Aluminum Bronze, Manganese Bronze, Tin Bronze, Leaded Tin Bronze, and High Copper Alloys.

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Topics: Copper Based Alloys, Non-Ferrous, Alloy Selection, Bronze, Wear Resistance, Wear

It's Still The Bronze Age

Posted by Dave Olsen on 10/10/18 3:15 PM

Metallurgically, Bronze is a copper-based metal alloyed with tin, lead, aluminum or other elements to change the material’s physical or mechanical properties.  The historic “Bronze Age” stretched from around 3000 B.C. to about 1000 B.C.  Early craftsmen found the material easier to deal with than stone for many uses, and more durable than other materials that they had access to for weapons, utensils, and decorative pieces.

In fact, we still get calls from time to time from customers who want us to cast a bronze art piece – we normally decline those opportunities. But even though MetalTek only casts the occasional bronze statue, we do pour a lot of bronze.  And there are good reasons why customers choose it.

Copper Base alloys are specified for their ability to satisfy needs like corrosion resistance, good mechanical strength, frictional and wear properties, bio-fouling resistance, and high electrical and thermal conductivity.  Unique combinations of these properties are met not by a single copper-based alloy, but by a series or family of copper-based alloys.  Common families are: Aluminum Bronze, Manganese Bronze, Tin Bronze, Leaded Tin Bronze and High Copper Alloys.

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Topics: Copper Based Alloys, Non-Ferrous, Bronze

Manganese Bronze Material Profile

Posted by Dave Olsen on 2/23/16 1:50 PM


  • HIGH TENSILE (C86300) Manganese Bronze


  • Family of bronzes primarily known for its extremely high strength and ability to resist the corrosive effects of seawater and brine. Often referred to as Yellow Brass.
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Topics: Copper Based Alloys, High Tensile, Non-Ferrous, Manganese Bronze, Bronze, Yellow Brass

Red Brass Material Profiles

Posted by Dave Olsen on 2/23/16 1:32 PM


  • MTEK 844 (C84400) and MTEK 85-5-5-5 (C83600) Red brasses


  • General utility alloys where reasonable strength and non-corrosive properties are demanded.  

Properties – Why select this material

  • Relatively light loads.
  • Good lubrication is possible.
  • Excellent machinability.
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Topics: Copper Based Alloys, Non-Ferrous, Red Brass

Bearium Alloys

Posted by Dave Olsen on 2/23/16 1:08 PM

For over 60 years, Bearium® Metals have been chosen for performance under the toughest operating conditions. These are high lead tin bronze alloys containing virgin copper, tin, and specially processed lead. Bearium® metals can be used where other bearing materials may fail due to speed, load, temperature, or where lubrication is difficult, impossible, or simply neglected. The high lead tin bronze for superior performance in particularly difficult applications and where lubrication is a challenge.

There are four grades available: B-4, B-8, B-10, B-11:

  • Bearium® B-4 is made up of 70% Copper, 4% tin, and 26% lead. This grade is used when the shaft or other mating part is relatively soft, is not heat treated or carburized, and has a hardness below Rockwell C20.
  • Bearium® B-8 consists up of 70% Copper, 8% tin, and 22% lead. It is recommended for use where the mating shaft or component has a hardness greater than Rockwell C20 or where the mating part has been heat treated or carburized.
  • Bearium® B-10 metal is 70% Copper, 10% tin, and 20% lead. Use of this version of Bearium® is recommended where the mating shaft or component has a hardness greater than Rockwell C20 or where the mating part is heat treated or carburized. It should be used in preference to the B-8 grade in applications which require somewhat higher physical properties than are available in B-8 material.
  • Bearium® B-11, the material with the highest strength within the Bearium® family, is made up of 70% Copper, 10% tin, 2% Nickel, and 18% lead. It has the lowest content of lead and offers the highest tensile and yield strength.
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Topics: Copper Based Alloys, Non-Ferrous, Bronze, High Lead Tin Bronze, Bearium Alloys

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