Types of Red Metals

Types of Red Metals and Their Differences

In the world of metals, three particular types stand out for their unusual red coloring. Copper, brass and bronze are related, but each has different properties that make it appealing for different uses. All three are found in a huge array of applications –including building construction and architecture, fine arts and sculpture, musical instruments, auto manufacturing, marine hardware, electrical components, HVAC systems, and machined parts and components.

Copper Metal

Copper is one of the few metals directly usable in its natural state, and it was one of the first metals mined by early humans. The most common red metal, copper is the base metal for the other two, which are alloys of copper.

Copper’s electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties make it useful for many applications. Its resistant to bacteria makes is ideal for medical applications or surfaces such as kitchen and bathroom counters and backsplashes, sinks and tubs. On top of that, copper has a built-in corrosion resistance, which means it can withstand the outdoors and other wet applications, such as roofing or plumbing.

The most common type of copper, alloy 110 is 99.9 percent pure. Copper 110 bar displays enhanced electrical conductivity, making it the product of choice for electrical components such as terminals, bus bars, conductors, and connectors.

Copper is easy to bend and form, with excellent dimensional control and good crack resistance. It also can be extensively machined, soldered and brazed, making it ideal for a wide range of applications in the automotive, industrial, architectural and building industries. For example, fabricators use copper for blanking, drawing, shearing, and stamping while other common uses include pressure vessels, heat exchangers, cotter pins, rivets, radiators, gaskets, roofing and gutters.

Brass Metal

Brass is an alloy, or mixture of copper and zinc, along with small amounts of other metals. Brass provides good durability, high corrosion resistance, electrical conductivity, non-sparking qualities, and excellent aesthetics, all at a lower cost than comparable copper or bronze materials. Brass is easy to machine and otherwise fabricate, as needed, making it an ideal material for a wide range of applications.

Known for its decorative use in architecture due to its bright gold appearance, brass is also used extensively in the manufacturing, construction, electrical and plumbing industries. Brass is used to make gears, bearings, valves, ammunition casings, nuts, bolts and threads, and marine hardware.

Bronze Metal

Bronze is an alloy of copper that’s mixed with about 12 percent tin, which adds to its strength and corrosion resistance. Bronze has been used for thousands of years for coins, statues, doors, tools, weapons, candlesticks, armor, musical instruments, and many other objects. Like copper, it has a natural resistance to corrosion. Bronze is more of a dull gold than a red metal, and it usually has rings on the surface caused by the manufacturing process.

Silicon bronze, the most widely used form of bronze used in modern times, is a low-lead brass alloy composed of 96 percent copper with the addition of a small percentage of silicon, which provides natural lubricity. It is known for its easy pouring ability and attractive surface finish. Silicon bronze is highly corrosion resistance and roughly as strong as steel. Thanks to these properties, silicon bronze sheet is ideal for use in salt water and fresh water applications, as well as pumps, boilers, pump components, no-lead castings and plumbing, statuary, bearings & bushings, and valve stems.

Bearing bronze has a high lead content of 6 percent to 8 percent. Like silicon bronze, bearing bronze offers low friction and high corrosion resistance, as well as excellent wear resistance and high hardness. As the name suggests, bearing bronze sheet is most often used for bearings, bushings, and similar applications.

Silicon bronze and bearing bronze can be found in a variety of industrial applications. These materials are strong, corrosion resistant, and non-magnetic. Silicon bronze is relatively easy to machine, while working bearing bronze requires more fabrication expertise.

Industrial Metal Supply stocks a wide range of styles and sizes of red metals, including multiple size options of copper, brass, and bronze in the form of round or rectangular bar, sheet, plate, or foil. We also stock a line of decorative brass railing from Lavi Industries.

Aluminum or Aluminium?

According to Grammarist.com, the correct name for Element 13 on the Periodic Table can be either “aluminum” or “aluminium.” The silver-ish metallic element, with symbol Al, can be found throughout the Earth’s crust. This lightweight metal has become a highly utilized material for aerospace, automotive, packaging, and many other applications where minimizing weight is key.


So what’s the history behind the aluminum spelling debate? The English chemist Sir Humphry Davy, who had already named several elements, predicted the metal’s existence within the mineral alumina – though he was not the first to isolate it. Apparently, Sir Davy himself caused the confusion, when he first used the name “alumium” in 1808, then later, “aluminum,” and finally “aluminium” in his 1812 book Elements of Chemical Philosophy.


Gradually, over the 19th Century, Canada and the United States settled on aluminum, while the U.K. and the rest of the world called it the more scholarly sounding “aluminium.” The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) now accepts both spellings, though even in North America, several scientific organizations prefer adding the extra letter “i.” Meanwhile, popular publications, such as the New York Times, stick to the American way.


In addition to its light weight, aluminum can be easily machined, is a good conductor of electricity, and is also prized for its corrosion resistance, making it an ideal material for industry and architecture – especially in locations subject to chemical or saltwater exposure.


Industrial Metal Supply carries a variety of aluminum angle and other aluminum shapes, such as tees, I-beam and channel, for use in a wide range of applications, such as scaffolding, ship & building construction, transmission towers, truck trailers, machined parts, and furniture.  


Contact IMS today for more information and to order aluminum shapes.


How Wire Mesh is Made

Wire mesh sheet is a highly versatile product used for a wide variety of applications, from safety fencing, concrete reinforcement, light fixtures, to air filtration. Wire mesh can be made of many different metals – such as carbon steel or stainless steel – with a range of gauges and hole sizes.

Wire mesh comes in two basic types: woven wire mesh and welded wire mesh.

Both types of mesh begin with extruding a metal rod, tube or wire through a number of dies that are successively smaller to create a thinner wire which is then wound on a spool. The wound wire later can be run through a straightening machine and cut in desired lengths for the next part of the process.

Woven wire mesh

Weaving wire into mesh is similar to the process of weaving cloth. First, a wire loom is set up with long lengths of wire strung parallel through the machine like yarn warp threads.

As the machine operates, wire harnesses lift alternate strands of the wire, allowing a shuttle to pass between strands perpendicularly, pulling along a filling wire, similar to a yarn weft. Then a batten presses the filling wire against the mesh and the harnesses lift the opposite strands so the shuttle can pass through in the opposite direction, producing an over-under weave.

Other weave patterns can also be created.

Welded wire mesh

Another type of wire mesh, sometimes called welded wire fabric, can be made with an automatic wire welding machine. This type of mesh consists of a series of parallel and perpendicular wires spaced at equal distances and welded at the intersections.

To set up the machine, wire is strung through a row of automatic feeders that push the long parallel strands through the welder. To create the cross-wires, another feeder drops short perpendicular sections of wire down on top of the parallel wires. At the intersections between parallel and perpendicular wire, a row of electrical resistance weld heads then fuses the joints and the mesh is pulled ahead, while another perpendicular wire drops down.

Contact Industrial Metal Supply today for more information about wire mesh or to get a quote.

The Industrial Metal Supply Stainless Steel Guide

Stainless Steel is considered as one of the best metals, and provides various benefits including its ease of fabrication, strength, and anti-bacterial properties. We encounter different types of stainless steel in multiple places in our everyday lives whether we realize it or not. From its discovery in 1913, stainless steel has been a popular and preferred metal by many partly due to its lustrous appearance, as well as its durability and versatility.

In our guide, you’ll discover some more benefits and interesting facts about Stainless Steel.

Industrial Metal Supply Co. Stainless Steel Guide

What is A2 Steel?

A2 is the most common grade of steel bar used to make tools for shaping metal, wood, and other materials. A2 medium-carbon chromium alloy steel is a member of the cold work tool steel group, designated by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), which includes O1 low-carbon steel, A2 steel and D2 high-carbon high-chromium steel.

Cold work tool steel is a good choice for parts requiring a balance of wear resistance and toughness. They also work well for parts that need a minimum amount of shrinkage or distortion during the hardening process.

The wear resistance of A2 steel is intermediate between O1 and D2 steel, and it has relatively good machining and grinding properties. A2 is tougher than D2 steel, and has better dimensional control after heat treatment than O1 steel.

Altogether, A2 steel represents a good balance between cost and physical characteristics, and is often considered a general purpose, universal steel.


A2 steel is the most commonly used variety of the Group A steels listed in the ASTM A682 standard, which are designated “A” for air hardening.

During the heat treating process, the medium carbon content of about 1% allows A2 steel to develop full hardness through cooling in still air – which prevents the distortion and cracking that could be caused by water quenching.

The high chromium content (5%) of A2 steel, along with manganese and molybdenum, allows it to achieve full hardness of 57-62 HRC in thick sections (4 inches in diameter) – giving it good dimensional stability even for larger parts.


A2 steel bar is available in a several forms, including square, round, and rectangular. This highly versatile material can be used for a wide variety of tools that require wear resistance, such as industrial hammers, knives, slitters, punches, tool holders, and woodworking cutting tools.

For inserts and blades, A2 steel resists chipping so that it lasts longer, often making it a more economical choice than high-carbon D2 type steel.

It is often used for blanking and forming thread roller dies, stamping dies, trimming dies, injection mold dies, mandrels, molds, and spindles.

Industrial Metal Supply stocks A-2 tool steel bar in square, round and rectangular cross-sections in a variety of sizes. Contact IMS for a quote or visit one of our showrooms today.

Embossed Rigidized Sheet Metal

Embossed (Rigidized) Metals

Rigidized®, or embossed metals, pioneered in the 1940s by the Rigidized Metals Corp. of Buffalo, New York, are an attractive way to add value to stainless steel sheet for a wide variety of applications.

The three-dimensional deep-texturing process that creates rigidized metal enhances durability and beauty while adding structural strength, impact resistance, and the ability to hide scratches. It also allows for down-gauging, resulting in lighter, longer-lasting products and significant cost savings.

The process can be applied to any metal sheet, including: steel, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, brass, titanium, bronze, galvanized sheet, perforated sheet, and galvanneal.

Embossed metals can be produced with an unlimited number of textures, such as leather, linen weave, wood grain, stucco, sand texture, and squares. The textures can completely cover the surface, or can be applied in a pattern, such as diamond or wave.

Aesthetic Appeal

For interior architectural applications, rigidized metals are used in countertops, walls, floors, ceilings, backsplashes, range hoods and other applications where metallic beauty and long-term durability are important. They make an artistic statement, adding a perfect accent to any room.

Metal finishes can add even more drama to the three-dimensional embossed pattern. These include:

  • powder coated and highlighted
  • colored
  • low reflectivity matte finish
  • “coined” linen, squares and sand-tex
  • vibration non-directional polish
  • random swirl
  • bead blasted

In addition to aesthetic qualities, rigidized metals keep designs looking attractive longer by defying dents – thanks to improved impact resistance – and resisting scratches, due to the reduced surface contact area. This saves on maintenance and long-term replacement costs.

For architectural, industrial and transportation applications, embossed metal sheet brings both design and functional benefits to building products, elevators, door panels, appliances, metal office furniture, and automotive trim. The strength of rigidized metal helps prevent “oil canning,” or waviness in wall claddings. It can also be used to control reflections and eliminate harsh glare.

Improved Performance

Embossing sheet metal improves its functional performance in a number of ways. It can reduce static and friction, increase stiffness and rigidity, increase total surface area for improved heat transfer or acoustic transmission, disperse liquid more efficiently to prevent corrosion, and improve traction – for example in diamond plate.

Durability and Sustainability

The Rigidizing process increases sheet metal durability – providing long-term cost savings – and saves weight, which allows use of lighter gauges.

Rigidized metal in an architectural design is an environmentally responsible choice, and contributes to credits for a LEED building certification. For example, using thinner gauge material for the same strength reduces consumption of natural resources. Rigidized stainless contains up to 60% recycled content and can be fully recycled itself. It produces no volatile organic chemical emissions (VOCs) and has no surface coatings that could pollute the environment.

Industrial Metal Supply offers three material options for rigidized embossed and textured sheet:

  • Stainless steel
  • Copper
  • Brass

View our data sheet for additional information on rigidized metals. Questions? Contact us today!

How to differentiate sheet vs plate

What is the Difference between Sheet, Plate, and Foil?

Aluminum sheet and aluminum plate are both widely used and respected due to the metal’s light-weight strength, along with high corrosion resistance. But what is the difference between sheet, plate, and foil?

When choosing between the three types of products, the only difference is the thickness – with plate being thickest and foil the thinnest. However, the exact thicknesses separating the categories depend upon the application, the metal in question, the gauge, and product specifications.

Independent & Inconsistent Metal Standards

Historically, gauges were the standards used to specify the thickness of metal wires before new, more accurate measurement technology was developed. Each industry created its own standards independently, and as a result, gauge numbers vary for aluminum, copper, brass, and different types of steel.

For example, the Dictionary of Units of Measurement defines 10 gauge aluminum as being 0.1019 inches thick, while 10 gauge standard steel is 0.1345 inches and a 10 gauge galvanized steel is 0.1382 inches.

As a result of this confusing state of affairs, the American Society for Testing and Measurement (ASTM) says in specification ASTM A480-10a, ‘The use of gage number is discouraged as being an archaic term of limited usefulness not having general agreement on meaning.’

Modern Metal Thickness Measurements

The common practice today is to specify the exact thickness of the product in question, thought the gauge may also be listed. In the case of aluminum and its alloys, sheet is typically defined as a piece of metal that is less than 0.249 inches thick. Aluminum plate is 0.25 inches and thicker, while aluminum foil is defined as anything thinner than 0.006 inches.

Due to their superior physical properties, aluminum sheet and plate are sought after for many different industrial applications. Aluminum plate is used for heavy-duty and structural applications, such as aerospace, military, and rail and sea transportation.

Aluminum sheet is the most common form of the metal, and is used in a wide range of industries, from food & beverage canning to cookware, appliance, and auto manufacturing. It is especially useful for construction of roofing, gutters, and siding.

Contact Industrial Metal Supply for your aluminum sheet & plate needs, or if you have questions.

Choosing a Roofing Material

Which Roof Type is Right for Where You Live?

When selecting material for a roof, aesthetics, warranty, and price are important, but not the only factors to consider. Choosing the right type of roofing for your climate can mean the difference between an attractive, comfortable, watertight roof and one that leaks, rusts, or needs costly repairs before the warranty expires.

Traditional Shingles

Traditional asphalt or composite shingle roofs are the first, most obvious choice and they work well for many parts of the country, including moderately warm climates. They can also withstand snow, ice, and heavy rain.

Asphalt shingles are good insulators and hold in the heat – which can be a negative in dry, hot areas. Choosing light-colored shingles or applying one of the newer cool-roof surface coatings can greatly improve the performance of asphalt roofs in this situation.

Corrugated & Metal Roofing

Corrugated steel roofing is becoming more popular, due to the fact that it lasts so much longer than asphalt – 50 to 100 years vs. 10 to 25 year warranties for asphalt roofs.

Though steel tends to rust, corrugated Galvalume sheet metal has been specially treated for corrosion resistance, making it ideal for use as a roof in wet climates. In some cases, such as restorations of older buildings or new builds with modern designs, metal roofing made of weathering steel can provide the right rusted look.

Metal roofing is built to withstand extreme weather conditions, including high winds, heavy snow, hailstorms, and even wildfires. It can prevent moisture from getting underneath, which could lead to rot. In hot climates, a white metal roof provides excellent solar reflectivity, and quickly cools down at night.

Other Roofing Material Types

Cedar wood shakes and shingles are natural materials that look quite traditional, but may rot in wet climates. Areas with prolonged high heat may cause the wood to crack or split. However, wood shingles are quite strong and can withstand heavy snow and winds in colder areas.

Concrete tiles are commonly used in the Southwest because of their ability to stand up to the heat. This type of roofing material is less appropriate in colder climates, which may cause cracking and water leaks.

Clay tiles, like concrete, do not wear well in cold, snowy climates, though they can withstand heavy rains. Clay roofing, especially the lighter colors, is a good choice for hot climates because it tolerates high heat and reflects sunlight to keep buildings cooler.

Slate tile roofing is also popular in hot climates, and light-colored slate tiles reflect the heat well. Slate is also very strong and durable enough to withstand wind, heavy rains or snows in colder areas.

Aluminum a Preferred Metal in Aerospace

Why is Aluminum A Preferred Metal Choice in Aerospace Industry?

According to the Aluminum Association, the history of air and space flight parallels the history of aluminum alloy advancement and production. Next to steel, aluminum sheet is the most commonly used and commercially available metal. Its soft, ductile texture has been fortified with a number of different metals to create alloys that exhibit highly useful qualities that have served the aerospace industry for over 100 years.

First Flight

Aluminum’s lightweight and high strength-to-weight ratio make it a good choice for aircraft, which is probably why the Wright brothers chose it to build parts of the engine used for their ground-breaking successful flight back in 1903.

Though the first primitive airplanes were made of lightweight wood, the downside of wood is that it’s susceptible to rot. For that reason – and as it became more readily available – aluminum became the go-to construction material for aircraft by the beginning of WWI.

Rise of the Aluminum Industry

A generation later during WWII, the U.S. built almost 300,000 aircraft, both for itself and our allies – with the help of a flourishing aluminum industry.

After the war, the beginning of spaceflight was achieved with the help of aluminum. For instance, the Titan family of rockets used to launch the manned Gemini craft into orbit in the 1960s was made of aluminum.

In use from the 1960s to the 1990s, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance plane – one of the fastest aircraft ever built – had an internal aluminum frame

From 1969 to 2003, aluminum-skinned supersonic Concorde passenger jets flew across the Atlantic at twice the speed of sound.

The Space Shuttle Discovery, which flew astronauts around the Earth from 1984-2011, had a backbone of aluminum alloy plate and had an external fuel tank made of aluminum. Its solid booster rockets were powered by aluminum metal mixed with solid ammonium perchlorate.

Modern Age of Aluminum

Still one of the world’s most popular jet planes, the Boeing 737 is approximately 80 percent aluminum, with different alloys used for different parts of the aircraft. For example, the fuselage skin, slats, and flaps are made of Aluminum 2024 (alloy of aluminum and copper), chosen for its good fatigue performance, fracture toughness, and slow crack propagation rate. Meanwhile, the wing upper skin, spars & beams are made of Aluminum 7075 (aluminum alloyed with zinc, magnesium, and copper), known for its high compressive strength-to-weight ratio.

The primary structure of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, the next-generation space exploration vehicle which will someday transport people to Mars, is constructed of an aluminum-lithium alloy.

Aluminum: The Cost-Effective Solution

Though not as strong as titanium or carbon-alloy steel, and heavier than composites, aluminum costs less and has a good balance of strength and low weight that make it a great fit for aircraft. When alloyed with other materials, aluminum exhibits many additional properties beneficial to flight, such as stress corrosion cracking resistance and high tensile strength.

Aluminum sheet & plate is as strong as steel at a fraction of the weight. Aluminum sheet & plate is also highly resistant to corrosion, which adds to its overall value. As manufacturing technologies advance, aluminum is sure to stay in the forefront of air and space craft for the foreseeable future.

For more information about aluminum metal supplies, contact Industrial Metal Supply today.

7 Suprprising Things Made of Brass

7 Surprising Things Made of Brass

Brass – an alloy of copper and zinc – is one of the most widely used alloys. Known for its decorative attributes and bright gold appearance, brass also exhibits durability, corrosion resistance, and high electrical conductivity.

Brass sheet and brass plate are more malleable than bronze, and generally very easy to cut, machine, and fabricate, making it useful in the manufacturing, construction, electrical and plumbing industries.

Accidential Discovery of Brass

As far as we know, brass was discovered accidentally, when metalworkers in ancient Asia smelted a crude form of brass from zinc-rich copper ores. Then about 2,000 years ago, the Greeks and Romans began melting calamine ore, which contained copper and zinc – causing zinc ions to be dispersed throughout the copper.

Over the centuries, a number of other processes have been developed for making brass, with additional metals, such as aluminum, lead, and arsenic, added to create alloys with different properties.

Brass’ Growing Uses

Because of its wide versatility, brass has found its way into a surprising range of applications, including:

Ammunition casings – Spark resistant, low-friction, corrosion-resistant, and non-magnetic, brass can be easily rolled into thin sheets and formed into cartridge shells. It is also easy to recycle for ammo reloading.

Marine hardware – Due to its hardness, toughness, and corrosion resistance – even in the presence of salt water – brass was used for centuries as sheathing on the hulls of wooden naval ships, for navigational tools, and later, marine engines and pumps.

Electronic components – For electrical panel board switches and relays, as well as PCB plug pins, sockets and terminal blocks, the malleable, non-magnetic nature of brass, and the fact that it costs less than gold and silver, makes it an excellent choice of material.

Radiator cores, tubes and tanks – Brazed copper-brass radiators for cars and trucks cost less than aluminum radiators, are easier to manufacture, last longer, and are much easier to recycle, which makes them more energy efficient. They have also been shown to have a lower air-side pressure drop than aluminum radiators.

Musical instruments – The durability, workability, corrosion resistance, and acoustic properties of brass make it an excellent, economic choice for a wide range of musical instruments, from trumpets, tubas, and trombones to cymbals, gongs, and bells.

RV water pressure regulator and elbow fittings – Much stronger and tougher than plastic, brass fittings can stand up to high water pressure and reduce it to a manageable level for use in RVs.

Technical instruments – For centuries, non-magnetic brass has been used to make measuring instruments, such as compasses, astrolabes, barometers, chronometers, clocks, and watches. While retaining its hardness and strength, brass is easily worked and engraved with permanent indicator marks for reading the time, tide, direction, or barometric pressure.

Brass in All Shapes & Sizes

Brass can typically be purchased in a number of forms, including:

  • Round, square, rectangle and hex bar
  • Sheet and plate
  • Tubing
  • Angle and channel
  • Shim
  • Threaded rod
  • Foil
  • Decorative railing & accessories

Industrial Metal Supply stocks brass sheet and plate in many forms and in full sizes or pre-cuts, as well as a line of decorative brass railing from Lavi Industries. Questions? Contact us today!