Lead Bell

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Lead Bell
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The bell is a fantastic acoustic object. Normally made from a specific type of hard bronze, referred to as bell metal, this bell has been made from lead in order to demonstrate how the material from which something is made has a marked effect on the performance or the object. In comparison with bronze, lead is extremely soft at room temperature. This means that when it is struck, it can easily deform and absorb the energy of the strike, resulting in a dull knocking sound rather than a lively ring.

Being made from lead also means that this bell is very heavy. The combination of the material’s density and softness mean that this bell could not be made in the same shape as the other bells in the collection as is would have collapsed at the shoulders. A reinforcing ring also had to be inserted around the opening of the bell to help in maintain a circular shape.

This is a great example of how material not only affects function but form too. If dipped into liquid nitrogen and cooled to –196 degrees C, the lead becomes stiffer and as a result the sound the bell produces changes, increasing its ring in both pitch and duration.

Sample ID: 765

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Rex Garrod
Acoustics | Bell | Element | Lead | Play | Sound

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