Monthly Archives: February 2018

  • Bronze vs. Brass Valves: What's the Difference?

    Bronze and brass are easy to get confused. They look similar, have similar-sounding names, and are used for many similar applications. These materials, while sharing many positive qualities, are not identical. There is more than one difference between bronze and brass valves, but not everybody knows about them. While both materials are alloys that incorporate a generous amount of copper, they differ in price and properties.

    What is Bronze?

    bronze vs. brass valvesBronze is one of the original metal alloys. Using copper and tin, metal workers developed a material that was both strong and malleable, meaning it would not crack as easily as something like iron. Bronze has not changed very much, aside from the reduced amounts of lead and the occasional addition of manganese, aluminum, or nickel. Parts made of this material can only be manufactured by casting the material into a mold or by machining a pre-cast bronze ingot.

    Bronze has a rough, porous exterior with small cavities in the surface. This is due to the casting process. However, bronze alloys with select additives can hold a polish and are not as abrasive. Bronze has many benefits, including high ductility (resists cracking), corrosion resistance, and low cost. There are tons of uses for bronze valves, including safety relief, flow direction control, shutting off flow, and more! Lead free bronze valves for potable water are available, but they must meet or exceed Clean Water Act lead restrictions.

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  • Malleable vs. Ductile Iron

    black malleable iron elbow fitting
    People know us for our plastic products (hint: it's in our name), but we are fans of everything to do with piping. Metal pipe, fittings, valves, and filters are no exception! This blog post is titled "Malleable vs. Ductile Iron" and will lay out a comparison between malleable and ductile iron.

    You may be thinking, "If they're both iron, they should behave basically the same, right?" That's a great question, but the answer is no. These are two iron alloys with different chemical compositions, so you cannot always use them interchangeably. First, we will look into the history of these materials. Then we will lay out the physical properties of each material. Finally, we will investigate common applications for each material.

    Iron History

    Humans have been manipulating iron to build things for centuries, maybe even millennia. However, most improvements to iron are somewhat modern. Until recently, the strongest types iron were "gray" and "white" cast iron. To make cast iron equipment, molten iron was molded in a cast. They had to do this because hammering cast iron breaks it. Gray and white iron were structurally sound, but cracked if bent or expanded.

    Malleable iron was the first iteration that could be hammered and bent into shape. This made it much easier to work with and less likely to fail. In 1943, however, ductile iron was developed. The difference between malleable and ductile iron was toted to be strength. This would allow ductile iron to be more easily bent and manipulated without breaking. So which material is actually better? Let's list their physical properties.

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