Skilled mirror craft of intermetallic delta high-tin bronze (Cu31Sn8, 32.6% tin) from Aranmula, Kerala

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Current Science, CURRENT SCIENCE ASSOCIATION, Volume 93, Number 1, p.35–40 (2007)



Craft, delta high-tin bronze, intermetallic compound, mirror


In the village of Aranmula, Kerala, an extraordinary metal mirror is traditionally made of delta high-tin bronze, i.e. a binary copper?tin alloy of high tin content consisting almost entirely of the delta phase (d), which is an intermetallic compound (Cu31Sn8) of composition 32.6% tin. This is an ideal alloy to polish into a mirror due to the silvery colour and high hardness. The presence of this delta phase is optimized, and its high brittleness offset by a clever casting and polishing process. This article puts together new insights based on the authors? field and technical investigations on how this mirror is skillfully made using low-technology, organic and everyday materials to get a sophisticated high-technology end-product.


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