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Metal Melting Points

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For those that work with metal, understanding the melting points of brass, copper, and steel metal alloys is vital to the successful outcome of any project. The melting point of any metal is categorized as the moment it transforms from a solid to a liquid. The exact melting temperature of a particular metal is its equilibrium of a solid and liquid state. A metal’s thermal expansion and thermal conductivity are also directly correlated to its melting point, allowing for a more defined systematic approach to working with different metals and how they react to varying temperatures.

Why Do Metal Melting Points Matter?

There are several reasons why the melting temperatures of metals are critical. One of the most important reasons is component failure. Applications that live in high-temperature environments must choose a metal that can withstand those increased temperatures; if not, component failure can happen, destroying the integrity of the part or component. Understanding a metal’s melting point is crucial when manufacturing metal parts and components. For example, it is vitally important that the casting equipment has a higher melting point than the casted metal.

molten lead

Melting Temperatures for Popular Metals

The following list of common metal melting points ranges from lowest to highest (melting points will vary depending on the exact alloy composition):
  • Lead: has one of the lowest melting points of any metal at 621 F (327 C).
  • Aluminum: has a relatively low melting point of 1218 F (659 C). When alloying metals are added to aluminum, its melting point can range widely from around 848 F to 1230 F (453 C to 666 C). Adding aluminum to other metals also tends to lower their melting points.
  • Bronze: 1675 F (913 C). Bearing bronze contains mainly copper, lead, and zinc, bringing down its melting point to 1790 F (977 C). Silicon bronze is a low-lead brass alloy generally composed of 96% copper plus a small percentage of silicon. Its melting point is 1880 F (1025 C)
  • Brass: 1700 F (927 C) Brass is an alloy of copper.
  • Copper: 1981 F (1083 C)
  • Cast iron: 2200 F (1204 C)
  • Steel: 2500 F (1371 C)
  • Stainless steel: 2750 F (1510 C)
  • Nickel: 2646 F (1452 C)
  • Wrought iron: 2700 F (1482 C)
  • Iron:2800 F (1538 C)
  • Tungsten has an extremely high melting point of 6150 F (3399 C) which is why it’s used for TIG welding electrodes.

What is the Melting Point of Copper?

The melting point of copper is 1,981° F. Since all other red metals are derived from copper, it maintains a higher melting temperature than brass and bronze. Copper is known for its enhanced thermal conductivity, allowing it to be used for many electrical applications.

What is the Melting Point of Brass?

The melting point of brass is 1,700° F. Since brass is an alloy of copper, it maintains a relatively low melting point. Brass also requires specialized furnace equipment to provide a proper melt.

What is the Melting Point of Steel?

The melting point of steel is 2,500° F. Since steel is more rigid than lead, aluminum, and red metals, the temperature required to melt it is much higher. Steel’s high melting temperature is why it is commonly used within structural applications.

What is Thermal Conductivity? Why Does it Matter When Choosing Metal?

Thermal conductivity is a rate measurement of heat flow through a given metal thickness. Some metals have better thermal conductivity than others and are thus used within the respected applications that require it. The metals that display the best thermal conductivity are copper and aluminum; both can pass on energy at an increased rate over other metals.

What is Thermal Expansion? How Does it Affect metals?

Thermal expansion describes how a metal changes shape in length, width, area, and volume when exposed to varying degrees of heat. The thermal expansion rate should be considered when choosing a metal for a project to avoid serious repercussions.

The IMS Difference

What separates IMS from other metals companies? With an abundance of metal options and customer service that is second to none, IMS has you covered with the following advantages:
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In the market for premium metal products and accessories? IMS stocks a wide selection of high-quality metal products in the sizes and styles you need. We also provide metal cutting services to make purchasing easy and convenient. Stop by one of our California or Arizona locations or request a quote today.

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