Composition and microstructures of imperial brass Chinese coins

M. J. Furtado, R. J. C. Silva, M. F. Araújo, F. M. Braz Fernandes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Twenty brass Chinese cash coins with complex compositions were studied for a better understanding of the metallurgical cash production in China, during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Elemental composition was obtained through energy-dispersive micro X-ray fluorescence spectrometry of small cleaned areas on the coins rims. Results showed that these brass alloys (Cu-Zn) frequently contain up to 3% Sn, have highly variable Pb content (from n.d. up to 14%) and Fe, Sb, and As as minor elements. Microstructures were assessed by optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectroscopy, and preliminary micro X-ray diffraction analysis. All the coins present typical as-cast microstructures although very fine-grained, which are supported by binary (Cu-Zn) and ternary (Cu-Zn-Sn) equilibrium phase diagrams, that explain microstructural differences due to the presence of Sn in these brasses.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvanced Materials Forum V
EditorsLuís Guerra Rosa, Fernanda Margarido
PublisherTrans Tech Publications Ltd
Pages531-537
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)0878492887, 9780878492886
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2010
Event5th International Materials Symposium MATERIAiS 2009 - 14th meeting of SPM - Sociedade Portuguesa de Materiais - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 5 Apr 20098 Apr 2009

Publication series

NameMaterials Science Forum
PublisherTrans Tech Publications Ltd
Volume636-637
ISSN (Print)0255-5476

Conference

Conference5th International Materials Symposium MATERIAiS 2009 - 14th meeting of SPM - Sociedade Portuguesa de Materiais
CountryPortugal
CityLisbon
Period5/04/098/04/09

Keywords

  • Brass alloys
  • Chinese coins
  • Cu-Zn binary system
  • Cu-Zn-Sn ternary systems
  • EDXRF
  • Elemental composition
  • Microstructure
  • SEMEDS

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Composition and microstructures of imperial brass Chinese coins'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this