Trendy material bronze, brass and copper in the construction of facades

Seele, a specialist in façade construction, follows the current trend of architectural materials using the latest production methods. Methods such as additive manufacturing or the combination of post-treatment and patination offer a variety of design possibilities for bronze, brass and copper processing. In-depth knowledge of the materials and many years of experience are essential to the use of this group of high quality materials.

Bronze, brass and copper have become very popular with architects in recent years, particularly in North America and the United Kingdom. The use of copper alloys is a tradition in construction. Because copper and copper alloys are the oldest metal materials technically used. In construction, copper is the most important nonferrous metal after aluminum. In current architectural designs, copper is used in many places and takes up important special functions.

Use and treatment in construction

The alloy variants are numerous. They differ in metallurgical properties and are standardized differently in the world. The alloys are processed in the form of plate, sheet metal or profile. Some alloys are available in all shapes and can therefore be combined very well. In the case of façade profiles as well as sheet metal cassettes with different brass alloys, different aging behaviors may appear after several years of aging. Coordination of alloys and component requirements is possible with brass and bronze alloys to achieve the most consistent color impression and consistent aging behavior. As a specialist in the construction of facades, Seele agrees in advance of the use of the base material from different components, because the difference is obvious in use. Thanks to the coordinated alloys, the aging behavior of the different components is more similar.

In addition, a good knowledge of the mechanical and chemical properties of the alloys is important. Possible treatment methods, such as milling or simple grinding, but also laser deposition welding, can only be performed with selected alloys. In-depth process surveys and technical sampling create a single directory of component, material, and process combinations that meet specific customer requirements.

For example, lever handle alloys and patch plates for the St. Patrick's Cathedral project in New York have been harmonized with each other, giving a homogeneous appearance. For the 82 m² interior facade, which separates part of the chapel from the rest of the cathedral, seele created the brass cladding of the facade, which has been adapted exactly to the contours of the existing columns.

Regarding the treatment, seele uses welding, welding and bonding as possible joining techniques. Depending on the quality of the surface, bronze is usually better soldered than brass or special brass alloys. Patination is often obtained chemically by soaking or by manual brushing. To do this, acids and bases are used which cause premature oxidation, coloring or adhesion of dyes. For example, for the TEC Bridge project in Toronto, Soul built a 35m long steel and glass pedestrian bridge with dark patinated brass plates in which circular ornaments were molded and then adopted into an acid bath.

Standardized material designation internationally

In order to clearly identify copper alloys, various abbreviations and material numbers have been developed. At the international level, the ISO name is the most universal name. For Europe, the designation of the material is regulated according to DIN EN 1412. The abbreviation EN corresponds to the ISO designation. For the part dominated by North America, the "Unified Numbering System for Metals and Alloys" (UNS number) applies. For Great Britain and the Commonwealth, the British system is used (PB number). For planning operations, seele uses a unique material designation with the ISO designation and the EN number.

The materials bronze, brass and copper are of very high quality and can be easily recycled. From the point of view of the inherent natural aging of materials, the recyclability and the generally long service life of such expensive materials, one can speak of sustainable material in a sophisticated high quality application. As a specialist in the construction of facades at the cutting edge of technology, Seele is able to respond to the trend of using these materials in the construction industry through a know-how in materials and the latest production techniques.

You will find detailed information in the white paper on Seele at the following address: https://seele.com/whitepaper.

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