Analysis of Bell materials: Tin Bronzes

Document Type

Journal Article


Foundry Institution of China Mechanical Engineering Society


Faculty of Regional Professional Studies


School of Regional Professional Studies / Centre for Sustainable Regional Futures




Audy, J., & Audy, K. (2009). Analysis of Bell materials: Tin Bronzes. China Foundry, 58(1), 77-81. Available here


The present study was set up to examine the effect of alloying elements (including harmful elements) on metallurgical features (material properties and qualitative parameters) of tin bronzes, with particular reference to church bells from Middle Ages to Current times. A driving force of this study was to identify and demonstrate features related to the quality of church bells made in different centuries. The fi ndings have been derived via metallographic and chemical analysis of specimens of bells from various parts of Australasia and Europe. The bell materials consisted of a mixture of the α phase and the (α+β) eutectoid essentially, in proportions determined by tin content and mould materials during casting. The samples from the 15th century to the one from the 20th century showed a progressive increase in hardness, ranging from the minimum of ~280 VHM20g to a maximum of ~470 VHM20g for the (α+β) eutectoid, and ~160 VHM20g to ~230 VHM20g for the α phase. The investigation also shows that the sound decay of the bell decreased with lowering the wt.% of tin and increasing the wt.% of lead and silver. This information is expected to provide an additional interesting knowledge into manufacturing practices and their signifi cance in the quality of church bells over past centuries.

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