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Brass Alloy

Brass Sheet Plate

Brass Product Highlights:

The copper content in brass makes brass germicidal. Depending upon the type and concentration, Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties. In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin.

Adding and removing different metals to brass can result in different properties. For instance, making it softer, more resistant to corrosion, etc. Below is a list of the various compositions that can cause changes to the brass alloy products we offer.

  • Lead: The addition of lead makes brass components softer and more malleable to work with.
  • Manganese: Adding manganese can change the color of brass, turning it into a deep brown color.
  • Nickel: Just like manganese, nickel can impact the color of brass. Except rather than turning it brown, nickel causes brass to turn silver.
  • Arsenic: Throw some arsenic in the mixture and the brass becomes more resistant to dezincification, allowing it to be more stable in certain environments.
  • Tin: To make brass stronger and more durable, tin can help.

Brass has the following properties as well:

  • Resistance against corrosion
  • Germicidal & Antimicrobial properties
  • Malleability & Acoustic properties

Brass Copper alloy products are typically used in decorative applications for its bright gold-like appearance. Applications where low friction is required such as locks, gears, bearings. doorknobs, ammunition, and valves; for plumbing and electrical applications; and extensively in musical instruments such as horns and bells for its acoustic properties. Because it is softer than most other metals in general use, brass is often used in situations where it is important that sparks not be struck, as in fittings and tools around explosive gases. Though it is important to note that brass is susceptible to stress cracks if not handled appropriately.

Brass has a high melting point, generally around 900-degrees Celsius, although the exact temperature depends on the concentration of the many different metals that make up this alloy.

One of the unique properties of Brass is that copper content in brass makes brass germicidal. Depending upon the type and concentration of pathogens and the medium they are in, brass kills these microorganisms within a few minutes to eight hours of contact. Learn more about the different types of Brass Alloy products we offer using the list below.

Frequently Asked Questions About Brass Alloys

Does brass rust?

No, brass does not rust. In order for an alloy to rust, it has to contain iron - which brass does not.

Does brass do well in applications involving water?

As a general rule, brass is not the best metal for use in applications that require it to be submerged underwater. It loses its zinc component when in water, causing a reduction in the metal’s strength and durability. As a result, the integrity of anything it is used for can be compromised.

Because there are different compositions, some types of brass may be suitable for water applications. Naval brass, for example, contains about 40% zinc and about 1% tin to reduce dezincification. This makes it much more resistant to saltwater.

What is patina?

Patina is a change in the colors of certain metals due to oxidation. When the metal comes into contact with any aggravating environmental agents, such as oxygen or water, this patina or coating will build up along the surface. Patina is often different shades of blue and green.

Some people see brass that has a patina and refer to it as rust. But, as stated above, without iron, brass cannot rust. This discoloration is solely due to oxidation. The patina, in fact, appears to protect the metal from corrosion.

How can you keep brass alloy from corroding?

Keeping a clear coat of sealant over metals like brass can keep it from having contact with natural elements that can cause corrosion. Oxidation occurs when that sealant has worn down over time or has become compromised. As soon as the metal comes in contact with air or water, for instance, it can cause the process to start.

In a matter of minutes, the patina can begin forming over the metal to protect it from corrosion.

If the sealant is ever breached, you can follow proper methods for removing the patina, cleaning, and resealing the metal.

How can I find out which brass is right for my project?

There are many different types of metals - and different compositions for brass alloys. Speaking to a professional is a great way to make sure brass is the best choice for your project. Call the expert team of AtlasBronze at (800) 478-0887.