A few interesting things about Muntz metal
Very few people have a metal alloy named after them but George Muntz does. Most alloys of copper have been given names that everyone is quite familiar with and use on a daily basis; brass and bronze. There are a number of different copper based alloys, brass is a combination of copper and zinc, bronze is a combination of copper and tin.
Muntz metal is also an alloy of copper and zinc and due to its low cost, light weight and extreme durability rapidly became one of the more popular alloys ever developed, especially in the shipping industry. The percentages of copper and zinc are 60 percent and 40 percent with a trace of iron. As it is an alloy of copper and zinc, technically Muntz metal is a form of brass.
Muntz metal is produced in a very unique process, considerably different than the manufacture of brass. The first stage of production is to melt the copper in a furnace, after which the zinc is infused. This molten alloy is poured into pans which are lined with clay and then it is ladled into iron ingot molds. Once cooled and released from the molds the resulting pig is transformed into the final product which is usually sheet or rod. The final stage of the process prior to use is to dip it into a weak solution of sulphuric acid and then flush it with plenty of water.
This alloy can be used in place of copper, it is most popular in the shipping industry where it has found wide acceptance. Right from the time George Muntz invented this alloy is has been used in lieu of copper for lining boat hulls. It has also been a popular material for providing protection to the large wooden pier piling as its thinness made it easy to warp the piles. Today, other materials have been found for use in the shipping industry and Muntz metal is most commonly used for the manufacture of bolts as they are extremely strong as well as quite inexpensive.
In the nearly 200 years since it was first developed, Muntz metal has proven its worth over and over as an alternative to copper around the world.