Stainless steel, bronze, brass or aluminum: how to choose the materials of the handle

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Stainless steel, bronze, brass or aluminum: how to choose the materials of the handle

Door handles are an ubiquitous part of everyday life, used constantly in almost any space, but rarely considered by the passing user. However, the material chosen for each handle can vary widely in terms of aesthetics, durability and durability, with the good choices being substantially the good and the bad being the bad. For items that are seen and used multiple times a day without fail, it is imperative that designers make the right choice.

To learn more about this subject, FSB helps us introduce the properties of four of the most common grip materials below, allowing you to make an informed decision on which material best suits your project needs.

© Daniel Vieser© Daniel VieserAluminum.  Image courtesy FSB© Daniel Vieser+ 32

© Christian Grund
© Christian Grund

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is a naturally corrosion resistant, wear resistant and low maintenance material. No matter how hard or how often used, it rarely shows signs of dents or scratches, even after years of use. Therefore, stainless steel handles require very little or no maintenance.

Stainless steel.  Image courtesy FSB
Stainless steel. Image courtesy FSB

Patented for the first time in 1912 by Krupp in Essen, stainless steel was called “V2a steel” and “Nirosta” (never rust). Known for its easy-to-maintain and initially flawless properties, the material has since been used in scenarios requiring continued use and infrequent maintenance. As a material for door handles, therefore, stainless steel is best applied to heavily used doors, especially those in public buildings such as public authorities, hospitals, ships in service areas of highways, parks and sports facilities, and other places with a large number of user populations that will be used for a long time.

Stainless steel.  Image courtesy FSB
Stainless steel. Image courtesy FSB

Although stainless steel does not rust, traces of dirt that accumulate over long periods of time can be quickly removed with a damp cloth. For stainless steel handles in chlorinated swimming pools, what appears to be surface rust does not usually come from the material itself but is carried from the outside to the fitting. These imperfections can also be removed by rubbing vigorously.

Bronze

Bronze is an aesthetic material that becomes more and more vibrant over the years due to the properties of its chemical composition. Developing an inlay titled an oxidative patina and years of use, this change is generally considered to have great ornamental value.

Bronze.  Image courtesy FSB
Bronze. Image courtesy FSB

With the increasing emergence of antibiotic resistant germs, surface hygiene can be an issue with bronze door handles, especially due to their naturally high frequency of use. However, bronze created from copper alloys has bactericidal properties that can eliminate this problem almost completely, with critical studies in the United States and Britain revealing that bacteria on copper alloy surfaces are eliminated at times. 99.9% after two hours at the latest. Among them is MRSA or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, one of the most virulent germs known. Regardless of where these bronze handles are chosen to be placed, so it is strongly encouraged that designers choose suppliers who can provide bactericidal copper alloy bronze.

Bronze.  Image courtesy FSB
Bronze. Image courtesy FSB

Aluminum

Aluminum is a light and very strong material, designed from the start as a high-tech option. It is strong and pleasant to handle, being very suitable for the corresponding ambient temperatures, and allows a multitude of aesthetic options due to its ability to be painted in any range of colors.

Aluminum.  Image courtesy FSB
Aluminum. Image courtesy FSB

Renowned for use in the automotive, aviation and aerospace industries due to these unique qualities, aluminum can also be applied to door handles not only for its low weight, strength and durability, but also because of its cycle. of ecological life. While the initial extraction of aluminum requires a large amount of energy, the material can be recycled over and over without loss, catching up with its initial extraction many times with significant energy savings.

Aluminum.  Image courtesy FSB
Aluminum. Image courtesy FSB

Aluminum’s coloring options further open the door to seemingly limitless aesthetic possibilities, ranging from classic emulations of real material metals to vivid applications of hundreds of pure colors. Depending on the coloring methods, some colored aluminum handles are more durable than others – for example, sandblasted anodized aluminum finishes are generally more impact and scratch resistant than traditionally worked and anodized aluminum. While both color and durability are a priority for the designer, we recommend that you take into account the differences in properties produced by different processes.

Aluminum.  Image courtesy FSB
Aluminum. Image courtesy FSB

Brass

Formed from an alloy of copper and zinc, brass has been used since time immemorial in the manufacture of decorative elements and accessories for doors and windows due to its unique golden tones. If not waxed or lacquered, brass will naturally react to environmental conditions, causing it to corrode and develop a brown to greenish-gray patina. This effect is appreciated by many designers and users to gracefully represent the passage of time. However, for those who wish to retain the original golden tone, it is recommended that you choose polished surfaces and avoid using brass for frequently used doors or in spaces exposed to environmental conditions.

Brass.  Image courtesy FSB
Brass. Image courtesy FSB

With these characteristics in mind, designers should assess the importance of durability, aesthetics, color, maintenance, weight, durability, hygiene and temperature per report to their specific projects and choose the material that best suits their needs. While many of these properties are inherent in each material, others are augmented or introduced by the quality of production varying with each supplier. As with any other architectural element, with every choice there is a plethora of considerations that every designer should keep in mind.

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